Arizona leads, California and Illinois lag in ABC Merit Shop survey

Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2020 Merit Shop Scorecard weighs state policies and programs that encourage workforce development, strengthen career and technical education, grow careers in construction, and promote fair and open competition for taxpayer-funded construction projects. Arizona tops the rankings for the first time based on its promotion of free enterprise and investment in tomorrow’s construction workforce—both high priorities for ABC. Georgia follows Arizona in second place for 2020, up from fifth the prior year, while perennial high performer Florida remains in the top five after leading the 2018 and 2019 ranks.

“A foundational pillar of ABC is building the next generation of craft professionals, and the top states in this year’s rankings lead the country in workforce development policies,” says ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “The merit shop contractor can flourish in free enterprise environments created in states like Arizona and Florida, which have positive ripple effects on a state’s overall economic growth.”

Conversely, Virginia fell the most in the Merit Shop rankings, dropping from 15th in 2019 to 31st in 2020, when a new legislative majority instituted a statewide prevailing wage and repealed the Fair and Open Competition Act. The latter ensured the state’s construction workforce and qualified businesses could compete on a level playing field for public works projects without the threat of government-mandated project labor agreements. The District of Columbia fell from 46th two years ago to last place in 2020 due to a poor record in workforce development outcomes and continued implementation of anti-free enterprise policies. Alaska, California, Illinois and Washington rounded out the bottom tier, each receiving F ratings in project labor agreements, prevailing wage and right-to-work policies for the sixth year in a row.