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

  • Jacobs, Ken
  • Huang, Kuochih
Publication Date
Jun 08, 2021
eScholarship - University of California
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In California, the question of whether and under what conditions labor standards requirements should be included in housing bills typically hinges on the issue of how much it would add to the cost of the project.[1] However, one important aspect of cost has so far not been considered: the cost to the public safety net resulting from low-road employment practices common in residential construction. Our analysis calculates the cost of utilization of the five major means-tested safety net programs by California construction workers and their families.  We find 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.

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