Wisconsin in top five for construction business climate

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 21, 2020 — Associated Builders and Contractors moved Wisconsin from eighth place to fifth place in its annual Merit Shop Scorecard ratings for 2020, highlighting the state’s exemplary business environment for merit shop construction contractors. America’s Dairyland has steadily risen in the rankings over the last decade as elected officials have enacted free enterprise reforms in the construction industry.

The scorecard, viewable at meritshopscorecard.org, identifies states that have established solid, free-enterprise environments for contractors or where economic improvements are needed. Wisconsin ranks higher than most states for policies and programs that promote open competition and free enterprise for the construction sector. The rankings are based on seven criteria: project labor agreements; prevailing wage; right-to-work; public-private partnerships; construction job growth; workforce development incentives; and career and technical education

These key issues are determined by the merit shop philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

“Wisconsin’s improved construction business climate and focus on ensuring a level playing field for all contractors is great, and even more impressive while maintaining high building standards and safety, and investments in training to close the skills gap,” said John Mielke, President of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. “While all Wisconsinites should be proud of the top five ranking, we will continue to work with public policy makers to promote ideas that will attract additional business investment that benefits the Wisconsin construction economy.”

Wisconsin ranks higher than all its neighboring states, including Iowa (7th), Michigan (15th), Minnesota (41st) and Illinois (46th).


Overall Rank: 8
Project Labor Agreement Policy: A
Prevailing Wage Mandates: A
Right to Work: A
Public-Private Partnerships: B
Workforce Development Incentives: C
Career and Technical Education: A
Job Growth Rate: B


2020 — 5th

2019 — 8th

2018 — 12th

2017 — 15th

2016 — 21st

2015 — 26th

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