The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s decisions to finalize two new employment rules despite federal data indicating no need for the new measures:
“The administration’s decision to finalize two new oppressive employment regulations for federal contractors forces us to object to measures whose goals we support and objectives our members already meet. That is because these rules will force federal contractors to spend an estimated $6 billion a year to produce reams of new paperwork proving they are doing what the federal government already knows they are doing.
“Administration officials claim these rules are necessary to address higher rates of unemployment among veterans and the disabled. Yet federal employment data shows that the annual average unemployment rate was lower for every category of veteran covered by this rule than compared to the nonveteran unemployment rate. The only exception was that the unemployment rate for ’Gulf War era II’ veterans was slightly higher than for nonveterans (9.9 percent vs. 9.0 percent), likely because they returned to the work force during a protracted economic downturn. Federal data also shows that veterans of all ages are already more likely to be employed by construction firms than are non-veterans. Federal data also indicates that people with disabilities are as likely to be employed in construction as people without disabilities.
“In their effort to counter non-existent employment challenges, the administration has developed two rules that require federal contractors to take extensive measures to combat discriminatory practices the federal government already knows barely exist. A 2012 analysis of eight years of the most recent federal enforcement data found that only 0.02 percent of all federal contractors could be seriously suspected of discriminating against veterans or the disabled.
“Given the lack of justification for these new measures, we will closely review all appropriate legal options available to protect employers — who have already made sure veterans and the disabled are well represented in the workforce — from billions in unneeded new regulatory costs.”