Review of Projects Funded under the Local Public Works Program

CED-78-140: Published: Aug 4, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1978.

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To determine how quickly and extensively labor was used on public works projects funded under the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976, 146 of these projects in Florida and Pennsylvania were reviewed. The act authorized the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), to make grants to state and local governments for the total cost of projects to provide employment opportunities through construction or renovation of useful public facilities and to provide a stimulus to the economy. The act did not create instant labor opportunities. Even though EDA implemented the act's provisions with speed, it took about 5 to 7 months to develop program rules and regulations and to receive, process, and approve grant applications. An additional 1 to 3 months passed before onsite work began on approved projects. The use of onsite labor was relatively slow on most projects for the first 6 months; only about 17 percent of the total estimated onsite labor costs were incurred during the first 6 months for the projects studied. This was partly because low labor-intensive work was done during the initial stages of construction and partly because construction delays extended the time during which much of the labor was required. Although onsite labor was used relatively slowly, the projects had a more rapid impact on generating offsite labor needs because many contractors ordered a relatively high percentage of required materials from suppliers during the first 6 months. EDA estimated that for every person-year of employment generated onsite, about 60 percent of 1 person-year was generated at major supply industries.

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