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A Southwest Missouri school district was the first local government entity in the state to take advantage of the changes made to Missouri’s prevailing wage law in an effort to lower construction costs on potential new construction projects.

The new Missouri statute, which was adopted in July 2013, changed the way prevailing wage rates are determined in the state, allowing the rates to be calculated by county and reflect the actual cost of construction labor in a local marketplace.

Before the new statute was adopted, smaller counties’ wage rates were set almost exclusively by taking wage rates directly from collective bargaining agreements. Under the new law, the prevailing wage rates are based on the group, union or nonunion, that reports the most work hours in that county.