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Minnesota

Unions Raise Wages and Sustain a Strong Middle Class in Minnesota

A new study released today finds that organized labor plays a vital role  in Minnesota’s economy and communities. The study, The State of the Unions 2017: A Profile of Unionization in Minnesota and in America, was conducted by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the University of Illinois Project for Middle Class Renewal, and the University of Minnesota.

The report finds that labor unions increase individual incomes by lifting hourly wages. On average, unions raise worker wages by 8.0 percent in the state. The wage effect, however, is even larger for low-income workers. Continue reading “Unions Raise Wages and Sustain a Strong Middle Class in Minnesota”

Construction Fatalities Cost the United States $5 Billion Per Year

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. Construction workers face a wide range of hazards when they arrive on the job site each workday, including large equipment, heavy supplies, height hazards, and long hours. It is important that construction workers are well trained and highly skilled in order to limit on-the-job injuries and fatalities.

NEW REPORT: The $5 Billion Cost of Construction Fatalities in the United States: A 50 State Comparison

Over the past four decades, OSHA and its state partners have worked with labor unions, employers, and safety and health advocates to increase workplace safety. Many employers and contractors put their workers through training and safety programs to ensure workers are prepared for job sites. Safety and health programs encourage a proactive approach to finding and fixing job site hazards before they cause injury or illness. Today, workers are less likely to die on-the-job than they were 40 years ago due to workplace safety efforts.

However, there is still room for improvement. A new report by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) finds that a total of 4,339 construction workers lost their lives at work from 2011 through 2015. This means that an average of 867.8 construction workers suffered a workplace fatality per year, or about 16 construction workers every week across the nation. Continue reading “Construction Fatalities Cost the United States $5 Billion Per Year”

What Are Road Construction Costs Per Lane Mile in Your State?

States play a significant role in the construction and maintenance of the country’s roadway system. Each state employs its own approach and objectives when planning and constructing highway infrastructure, including addressing obstacles and environments unique to that state.  A recent report by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute explores the highway construction costs for each state and more closely examines them throughout the Midwest.

Full Report:  A Comparison of Highway Construction Costs in the Midwest and Nationally

The figure below summarizes each state’s highway construction, right-of-way (ROW) acquisition, and engineering costs per lane mile.  This analysis provides an illustration of how construction costs compare between states; however, as stated above, each state encounters its own unique complications that factor into overall costs.  Therefore, it cannot be exclusively used as a definition of cost effectiveness.  Continue reading “What Are Road Construction Costs Per Lane Mile in Your State?”

“Right-to-Work” Laws in the Midwest Have Reduced Unionization and Lowered Wages

Taken from Illinois Update and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI).


A new study finds that the introduction of “right-to-work” laws has reduced the unionization rate by 2.1 percentage points and lowered worker wages by 2.6% in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Continue reading ““Right-to-Work” Laws in the Midwest Have Reduced Unionization and Lowered Wages”

How the Decline of Unions Has Caused Inequality to Rise in Each Midwest State

A new report finds that union decline has resulted in economic redistribution from workers to owners.

Continue reading “How the Decline of Unions Has Caused Inequality to Rise in Each Midwest State”

The High Cost of Construction Injuries and Fatalities

A new Economic Commentary [PDF] released by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute compares the working conditions of 5 Midwest construction labor markets: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The report finds that worker fatalities result in high economic burdens for Midwest states, but that Minnesota has the safest construction industry out of the 5 states.

Continue reading “The High Cost of Construction Injuries and Fatalities”

Gas Taxes are Unsustainable for Transportation Infrastructure Needs

Transportation infrastructure is essential for economic growth.  In order to maintain quality transportation infrastructure, sustainable funding is imperative.  An Economic Commentary [PDF] by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute explores the role of the motor fuel tax both nationally and internationally.  The United States currently suffers from insufficient funding due to a broken system. Without changes, more and more roads, bridges, and public transit systems will fall into disrepair.

The primary source of transportation funding in the United States is the motor fuel tax – also known as the gas tax or fuel tax.  The federal gasoline and diesel taxes currently stand at 18.4 cents and 24.4-cents per gallon, respectively.

The revenue collected from federal fuel taxes is deposited into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  While fuel taxes previously served as the primary source of funding for the HTF, comprising over 80 percent of its funding between 1995 and 2007, they have proven to be an unsustainable revenue source in recent years.  Between 2008 and 2014, the HTF received $65 billion from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund to meet the fund’s obligations, since annual spending for highways and transit began to exceed the revenues generated. Continue reading “Gas Taxes are Unsustainable for Transportation Infrastructure Needs”

Minneapolis: An Upward Mobility City

“The fading of the American Dream is not immutable. There are cities throughout America — such as Salt Lake City and Minneapolis — where children’s chances of moving up out of poverty remain high. Cities with high levels of upward mobility tend to have five characteristics: lower levels of residential segregation, a larger middle class, stronger families, greater social capital, and higher quality public schools.” – The Equality of Opportunity Project

Prevailing Wage and Military Veterans in Minnesota

REPORT: Prevailing Wage and Military Veterans in Minnesota: Applied Policy Brief

A new study released today finds that prevailing wage greatly improves economic outcomes for veterans. As many as 2,300 blue-collar veterans in Minnesota would be expected to separate from their construction jobs if Minnesota were to weaken or repeal its prevailing wage law.

Veterans are more likely to work in construction than non-veterans. Nationally, veterans account for 5.8% of the overall workforce but comprise 6.9% of all blue-collar construction workers. In Minnesota, veterans make up an even larger share of the construction workforce. Approximately 9.6% of all blue-collar construction workers in Minnesota are military veterans, above neighboring states and well above the 6.9% U.S. average. Continue reading “Prevailing Wage and Military Veterans in Minnesota”

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