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Contact: Jeff Leieritz (202) 905-2104             
[email protected]
                                                                For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 21– Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released its annual update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard,” which reviews and grades state-specific policies and information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry. The scorecard highlights states that have created a free enterprise-based environment where merit shop contractors are well positioned to succeed and calls attention to states where strategic improvements need to be made.

The Merit Shop Scorecard grades states on their policies on prevailing wage and project labor agreement (PLA) mandates and Right to Work status, as well as their construction job growth rate, commitment to developing a well-trained workforce, career and technical education (CTE) opportunities and results, and use of public-private partnerships (P3s).  

Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina ranked first, second and third, respectively. Each state earned top grades for enacting PLA, prevailing wage and Right to Work policies that favor free enterprise, using P3s and placing a high percentage of students in colleges or careers after graduating from CTE programs.

Conversely, Illinois, New Mexico and Alaska ranked as the three worst environments for merit shop contractors. Each received a “D” or “F” grade for their policies on PLA and prevailing wage mandates and failure to adopt a Right to Work law; they also received poor marks for their workforce development incentive programs.

“Associated Builders and Contractors’ Merit Shop Scorecard identifies states that have positioned the commercial and industrial construction industries for growth by creating environments that allow for fair and open competition while promoting a well-trained local workforce,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “ABC is committed to promoting free enterprise-based policies that will improve business climates and ensure a level playing field for all contractors. We believe that the Merit Shop Scorecard can help promote policies that will attract additional business investment and benefit state economies as a whole by providing valuable information for policymakers, contractors, construction users and other industry stakeholders while focusing on specific areas where strategic improvements can be made.”
The merit shop philosophy is the belief that people and companies succeed based on free enterprise principles within the free market system, which is characterized by open and fair competition and diverse participants. Those who adhere to the philosophy believe employees and employers have the right to determine wages and working conditions through either individual or collective bargaining, as they choose, within the boundaries of the law. They oppose violence, coercion, intimidation and the denial of the rights of employees and employers. Furthermore, they believe it is incumbent on all branches of government to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and that government should award contracts based solely on merit to the lowest responsible bidder, regardless of labor affiliation.

The Merit Shop Scorecard was developed with input from ABC chapters and industry stakeholders across the country. A full list of state rankings, as well as criteria and definitions, is available at The scorecard is also updated with exclusive state construction unemployment rate estimates from economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.