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In 1999, construction companies did not lack for projects statewide. However, the state's low unemployment level (3.2 percent in October 1999) caused many companies to have project backlogs because there were not enough workers. This worker shortage lengthened many job completions by 10 to 20 percent. Many companies are offering incentives to hourly workers, like health insurance and 401(k)s.
Of the state's 220,000 construction workers, 65,000 are Latino. They are typically productive, rarely miss work, and are willing to put in long hours. Martin discusses how Latino labor influences the way things are built and what materials are used in the construction. He also discusses why Latino workers get injured or killed at a higher rate than other construction workers and how some are exploited by employers.