Impact of repealing New York state's prevailing wage law on blue-collar construction workers and the local economy, 2016 data

New York blue-collar construction
Total employment 294,591
Average weekly earnings $1,370.46
Average weeks worked (U.S. average) 47
Estimated total annual earnings (in billions) $18.975
Estimated changes if prevailing wage is repealed
Percent change in hourly wage -2% -4%
Percent change in employment 0.28% 0.56%
Change in annual earnings, across all current workers (in millions) -$379.5 -$759.0
Annual earnings, newly hired workers (in millions) $53.1 $106.3
Net change in annual earnings across current and new workers (in millions) -$326.4 -$652.7

Notes: Blue-collar employment is estimated to be 79 percent of total industry employment (372,900) given data from New York residents from the 2000–2016 Current Population Survey; the labor demand elasticity is -0.14.

The two data columns in the table represent the impact associated with the Kessler and Katz (2001) estimate that the repeal of a state’s prevailing wage law results in a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in the average hourly wage for its blue-collar construction workers on all projects, both public and private.

Sources: Employment and earnings data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics (BLS CES); Average weeks worked comes from Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement data in the IPUMS-CPS database (Flood et al. 2017). Labor demand elasticity for construction comes from from Maiti and Indra (2016).

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