Public Cost of Low-Wage Work

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Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Arizona Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Arizona. We find that 45% of families of construction workers in Arizona are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over $700 million per year. By comparison, among all Arizona workers, 32% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Over one-third (36%) of construction workers lack health insurance, almost three times the rate for all workers in Arizona (13%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Georgia Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Georgia. We find that 44% of families of construction workers in Georgia are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of approximately $400 million per year. By comparison, among all Georgia workers, 33% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly half (49%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in Georgia (15%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Michigan Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Michigan. We find that 35% of families of construction workers in Michigan are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of almost half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Michigan workers, 30% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Twenty percent of construction workers lack health insurance, almost three times the rate for all workers in Michigan (7%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Nevada Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Nevada. We find that 42% of families of construction workers in Nevada are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over a quarter of a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Nevada workers, 33% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Over one-third (35%) of construction workers lack health insurance, compared to 13% of all workers in Nevada.

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the New Hampshire Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in New Hampshire. We find that 22% of families of construction workers in New Hampshire are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $48 million per year. Among all New Hampshire workers, 19% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Twenty-three percent of construction workers lack health insurance, almost three times the rate for all workers in New Hampshire (8%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the New Jersey Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in New Jersey. We find that 33% of families of construction workers in New Jersey are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $325 million per year. By comparison, among all New Jersey workers, 26% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Thirty percent of construction workers lack health insurance, three times the rate for all workers in New Jersey (10%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the New York Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in New York. We find that 41% of families of construction workers in New York are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $2 billion per year. By comparison, among all New York workers, 33% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in New York (7%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Oregon Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Oregon. We find that 43% of families of construction workers in Oregon are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $710 million per year. By comparison, among all Oregon workers, 37% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Twenty-two percent of construction workers lack health insurance, two and a half times the rate for all workers in Oregon (9%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Wisconsin Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Wisconsin. We find that 28% of families of construction workers in Wisconsin are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $207 million per year. By comparison, among all Wisconsin workers, 26% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Fifteen percent of construction workers lack health insurance, more than twice the rate for all workers in Wisconsin (7%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry

In this paper we look at the use by construction workers and their families in the United States of five means-tested safety net programs. We find that 39% of families of construction workers are enrolled in one or more safety net program at a cost of almost $28 billion per year. In comparison, 31% of all workers have a family member enrolled in a safety net program. Three times as many construction workers as all workers lack health insurance (31% compared to 10%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Connecticut Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Connecticut. We find that 39% of families of construction workers in Connecticut are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over a quarter of a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Connecticut workers, 29% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in Connecticut (7%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Illinois Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Illinois. We find that 34% of families of construction workers in Illinois are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Illinois workers, 30% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance (21%) is more than two and a half times the rate for all workers in Illinois (8%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Pennsylvania Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Pennsylvania. We find that 28% of families of construction workers in Pennsylvania are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $428 million per year. Compared to all Pennsylvania workers, construction workers are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance (7% compared to 16%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Texas Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Texas. We find that almost half—46%—of families of construction workers in Texas are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of almost $2 billion per year. By comparison, among all Texas workers, 31% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Over half (55%) of construction workers in Texas lack health insurance, two and a half times the rate for all workers (20%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Washington Construction Industry

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Washington. We find that 38% of families of construction workers in Washington are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Washington workers, 32% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance is close to three times the rate for all workers in Washington (22% compared to 8%).

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry

A new report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center highlights the public cost of low wages and few benefits in some sectors of the construction industry in the United States. This national report is released today in conjunction with state briefs for Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Ken Jacobsand Kuochih Huang

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in California’s Construction Industry

Low wages and exploitative practices in the resident construction industry cause profound hardship for workers and their families. It also costs the public. This analysis finds almost half of families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net program.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in California’s Construction Industry

The study, by Ken Jacobs and Kuochih Huang of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, finds that almost half of the families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion in public funds. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

The Public Cost of a Minimum Wage Below $15 in Delaware

This data brief estimates the public cost to Delaware and the federal government from the use of safety net programs among low-wage working families who would be directly affected by an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. We find that just over half of these Delaware families (51%) are enrolled in at least one safety net program, at an annual cost of $700 million.