EPI work on Post-Katrina Gulf Coast reconstruction

Katrina evacuees face extreme levels of joblessness
Read this Snapshot for an analysis of the extreme levels of unemployment faced by minorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Lessons for Post-Katrina reconstruction
The need to rebuild the Gulf Coast quickly is no excuse for suspending the Davis-Bacon Act or affirmative action requirements, as President Bush has done. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of the Gulf Coast, politicians need to learn from the resoundingly successful post-earthquake reconstruction of the Southern California freeways in 1994. One important contribution to the speed and efficiency of that effort was the enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act. The new EPI Briefing Paper Lessons for Post-Katrina Reconstruction explains how the prevailing wage law can help ensure that work is done expeditiously, safely, cost effectively, and with maximum benefit to the local population

Principles and Priorities for Rebuilding New Orleans
An EPI-coordinated statement, made by a number of Black policymakers and social scientists, lays out guidelines on how to rebuild the Gulf in ways that are beneficial and inclusive to residents and mindful of the poverty and lost jobs that plague the area.

Katrina knocks payrolls off course
While the impact of Hurricane Katrina on U.S payrolls was less than predicted for September, EPI’s Jobs Picture for October 7 takes a closer look at the data and reveals a significant swing in payroll numbers in the last month.

Policies to guide the post-Katrina rebuilding process
The crisis of Katrina presents our government with a unique opportunity to simultaneously address the destruction done by the storm and the already existing needs of the citizens of the affected areas, many of whom are dispersed throughout the region and the country. In the coming months and years, substantial federal resources will be committed to cleaning up and rebuilding Gulf Coast infrastructure and communities. The guidelines outlined in this EPI Policy Memo are intended to help structure the rebuilding process in a way that takes advantage of this opportunity to improve people’s lives. The recommendations cover policies for local hiring, prevailing wages, health care, training, and ensuring a voice in the process for residents of the affected areas. They mustn’t be left behind again.

Gulf families’ recovery at risk
On September 8, President Bush suspended indefinitely the Davis-Bacon Act, the law that requires federal contractors to pay prevailing wages in the local area. With some of the region’s construction industry wages already near or below the poverty line, this puts even more families at risk of earning wages below the poverty threshold. Read about it in this Economic Snapshot.