Impact on Employment in Federal Contract Operations (H.R. 6425)
B-197844, Mar 25, 1980
Legislation has been proposed which would require government-wide agency consideration of the impact of Federal contract operations on employment. The bill requires that each agency prepare an annual employment impact statement for its proposed procurement during the following year identifying the volume of each type of procurement by geographic area. Agencies could develop this information easily for some construction, personal service, and sole source contracts since the location of performance is known, but not for competitive procurements involving property or services where the geographic area of performance depends on the location of the winning contractor. The bill provides that whenever any proposed procurement action departs significantly from the plan, the agency must publish a supplemental employment impact statement with any necessary revisions. Thus agencies would have to publish numerous supplemental employment impact statements throughout the year. It also requires GAO to review agency compliance with the legislation and to assess the act's effect on employment. Since GAO currently has legislative authority to make such assessments, a review need not be required explicitely by the bill. Potential difficulties of a conceptual nature include (1) employment impact statements have limited usefulness because they are forecasts rather than analyses of events, (2) there are no adequate baseline studies to accurately assess employment effects before and after enactment of the bill, and (3) national employment would be unaffected by shifts in the locations where Federal contracts are performed.