In the pacific Northwest there is currently a huge surge in public work projects due to stimulus. Having worked in the construction industry here for about 17 years I have seen several ups and downs but none like this one. Over the last 10 years we have seen growth in the industry like know other time. Companys were poping up one after another due to the demand for contractors. We are a union company and our workers are very well paid. over the last 5 years the work load was so high it was almost impossible to find help. The hiring halls took in anyone they could find. The market has since changed the private work that was carrying the market has dried up and everyone is looking at the public work projects that are being supported by stimulus dollars. There is one problem with this that most do not understand and I will try to explain as best I can. First off a person has to understand how state and federal jobs are awarded. They go to the lowest bidder period. So this is what is happening with these dollars. These projects have been going out for 30 to 40 percent below estimated costs. The reason for this is companys are dying and doing anything they can to hold on including taking jobs at less than cost. So the question is what does the stimulus really do? There is plenty of work around if you don't mind going broke doing it. I know this will come up so I will answer the question before it is asked. All public work in the Pacific Northwest is prevailing wage so wages are set by the state and federal government. We have seen surges before in public work before but untill the private companys start spending money again little will change. So I can only hope that the jobs that I am creating at a loss are going to bring stimulus to the private sector maybe they will. I don't have the answer to the current problem but I wanted to shed some light on what is happening around my area with the stimulus dollars.
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