Florida remains best state for construction

For the fourth time, Florida claimed the top spot in Associated Builders and Contractors’ eighth annual Merit Shop Scorecard, a ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on policies and programs that strengthen career pathways in construction, encourage workforce development and advocate for fair and open competition on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

“Each state plays a key role in creating the conditions for the best taxpayer investment in quality infrastructure,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC’s vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “These policy and educational priorities are the foundation for creating a level playing field for all construction contractors to compete for work and build safely, efficiently and effectively.”

In addition to fostering fair and open competition in public construction work, Florida continues to reap the benefits of providing students with a multitude of career pathways, which yielded a graduation rate of 96 percent for career and technical education program students in 2022.

Arizona took second place this year. The state claimed the first spot in 2020 and continues to be a high performer owing to its strong free market values. Arizona has also benefitted from a strategic focus on its workforce and its students, satisfying 98 percent of the labor demand in the state and graduating 92 percent of its CTE students.

Rounding out the top five, Georgia came in third, Alabama fourth and Arkansas ranked fifth. Alabama jumped from 15th in 2021 after investing an impressive $200 million in workforce development. Similarly, Oklahoma climbed to ninth from 20th in 2021, after increasing its workforce development investment almost tenfold.

A notable drop in the 2022 rankings is Michigan, which fell nine spots because Governor Gretchen Whitmer reinstated prevailing wage via executive order. The bottom tier of states, in ranking order, includes Hawaii, Alaska, the District of Columbia, California and New York, each receiving F-ratings in project labor agreements, prevailing wage and right-to-work policies.

About The Merit Shop Scorecard

The 2022 Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard rates state laws, programs, policies and statistics in seven categories: project labor agreements, prevailing wage laws, right-to-work laws, public-private partnerships, workforce development, career and technical education and job growth rate.