ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission requires private companies with 100 or more workers to report annually on the race/ethnicity and gender of their workforce by ten occupational groupings. The EEOC summaries of this data for the four-county Milwaukee metropolitan area help measure the economic health of the construction industry as well as the commitment of the largest firms to hiring of African American, Hispanic and other minority workers. The report focuses on the race/ethnicity of employees in the blue collar occupational areas (skilled craft workers, semi-skilled operatives including apprentices, and unskilled laborers) and at the executive and managerial levels. The EEO-1 reports show an industry still struggling to recover from the recession and national housing crisis. While the number of large construction firms in the Milwaukee area (with 100 or more workers) increased from 39 in 2010 to 41 in 2011, the number of workers they employed dropped from 6,111 to 5,815. None of the executives or senior managers running the largest construction firms in the Milwaukee area was a person of color. In 2011 Latinos held only 4% of the jobs in the largest construction firms in metro Milwaukee, and African Americans held less than 4% of the jobs. Only 85 African Americans were employed as skilled craftsmen (compared to 2,771 whites), only 35 African Americans were working as apprentices and semi-skilled operatives (compared to 441 whites), and only 73 African Americans were employed as laborers (compared to 431 whites). Latinos also showed low employment levels in the largest construction firms of the Milwaukee area, holding only 4% of the jobs. The companies reported 135 Latinos. Little evidence was seen of affirmative action commitment or enforcement during the recession.