An April 6, 2011 report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), titled, "Davis-Bacon Act: Methodological Changes Needed to Improve Wage Survey," highlighted serious flaws in how wages are determined under the Davis-Bacon Act, and recommended steps for the Department of Labor (DOL) to take to remedy some of the issues. GAO examined how DOL has addressed previous concerns from stakeholders, and also looked at new issues that need to be resolved.

In the report, GAO acknowledged some actions by DOL to correct problems with the process and with the wage survey process, but criticized the agency's inability to fix major problems related to accuracy, overall quality and timeliness–pointing out that DOL is still years behind schedule on many of its surveys, forcing federal contractors to rely on out-of-date information.

GAO also noted ongoing issues with the representativeness of the wage determination survey results, reporting that about 25 percent of final wage rates for job classifications are based on wages reported for six or fewer workers. In addition, 63 percent of all DOL wage determinations consider wages set by union agreements to be “prevailing,” even though only 13 percent of construction workers are covered by such an agreement.

Read the Report: Methodological Changes Needed to Improve Wage Survey