Construction Industry

  • Press Release
    April 2, 2015 - 12:17pm

    A group of lawmakers led by Rep. Jesse Topper, and joined by representatives of the School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, held a press conference yesterday calling for school construction projects to be exempted from Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law. In response, Keystone Research Center Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, an economist, issued the following statement:

  • Press Release
    April 2, 2012 - 3:48pm

    With the state legislature considering voting this week on proposals to weaken the state’s prevailing wage law, Keystone Research Center Executive Director and economist, Dr. Stephen Herzenberg issued the following statement. The prevailing wage law requires that wages and benefits on state-funded construction projects not undercut regional standards in each trade on construction projects similar to state projects.

    “Weakening prevailing wage laws is a failed policy that Pennsylvania already tried in the late 1990s and that didn’t work.

  • Issues
    March 29, 2012 - 2:46pm


    Construction workers on projects covered by Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law must be paid minimum “prevailing” wage and benefit levels which vary by occupation and geographical area within the state. This issue overview reviews the economic research on prevailing wage laws so that legislators and members of the public can determine their position on these laws based on evidence rather than ideology.

    History of Prevailing Wage Laws

  • Op-Eds
    February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

    There is a battle taking place in Harrisburg over a state law that ensures the construction workers who build schools and fire stations in our communities are paid a fair middle-class wage.

    This battle is not about lowering costs for public building projects. It is about catering to owners and executives of contractors who pad their pockets by paying workers’ poorly.

  • Op-Eds
    December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

    Some Harrisburg politicians have a novel idea about how to create more jobs in Pennsylvania. They want to slash the middle-class wages of construction workers who build schools and fire stations in our communities. If that means hiring less experienced builders who will take longer to get the job done and make costly mistakes, so be it.

    Does that sound like a winning jobs policy to you?

  • Press Release
    October 3, 2011 - 12:19pm

    States without such laws have worse jobs, not lower costs. To lower public construction costs, PA should time projects to the market trough

    Read the Full Policy Brief

    Read a Fact Sheet (PDF)

  • Briefing Paper
    October 3, 2011 - 12:08pm
  • Op-Eds
    May 8, 2009 - 5:20pm

    Philadelphia has a problem: It doesn't have enough jobs that can sustain families. The area's lopsided labor market is well documented in a widely publicized report by the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, A Tale of Two Cities. But one of the bright spots in the region's employment picture is the non-residential construction industry.

  • Press Release
    April 22, 2009 - 5:13pm

    HARRISBURG, PA—Pennsylvania workers, like workers across the nation, have seen their wages stagnate or grow slowly in recent decades. But a report released today shows that being in a union significantly boosts the wages of Pennsylvania workers employed in service industries.

    The report, released jointly by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C., and the Keystone Research Center (KRC) in Harrisburg, finds that unionization raises the wages of the average service-sector worker in Pennsylvania by nearly 9 percent.

  • Briefing Paper
    September 9, 2008 - 2:50pm

    In January 2008 the Keystone Research Center released A Building Storm:The Housing Market and the Pennsylvania Economy, the first detailed study of the housing market in Pennsylvania and its major economic regions. Data available at that time showed that the growth in housing prices in Pennsylvania had slowed but not yet begun to fall. We warned in our first housing report, however, that the Pennsylvania housing market appeared to be following national trends and that nationally, home prices were already falling.

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