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South Carolina ranks 6th for construction business climate according to ABC’s Merit Shop Scorecard

South Carolina is an excellent place for contractors to do business according to a scorecard launched today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard” reviews and grades state-specific information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry.

The scorecard website,, identifies states, such as South Carolina, that have created an environment where merit-shop contractors are well positioned to succeed and states where strategic improvements need to be made in order to achieve a merit-shop friendly business climate.

The Merit Shop Scorecard grades states on their policies on project labor agreement (PLA) and prevailing wage mandates, right-to-work status as well as their construction job growth rate, commitment to developing a well-trained workforce, level of flexibility in career and technical education curricula and use of public-private partnerships (P3s).

“ABC applauds South Carolina policymakers for their commitment to free enterprise and helping craft an environment where contractors can thrive,” said Doug Carlson, ABC of the Carolinas president and CEO. “By banning anti-competitive and restrictive project labor agreement and prevailing wage mandates and supporting right-to-work and workforce development programs, South Carolina policymakers have helped reduce the cost of public construction to taxpayers and made it easier for contractors to expand their operations and create more jobs in South Carolina.”

The merit shop philosophy is the belief that people and companies succeed based on free enterprise principles within the free market system, which is characterized by open and fair competition and diverse participants. Those who adhere to the philosophy believe employees and employers have the right to determine wages and working conditions through either individual or collective bargaining, as they choose, within the boundaries of the law. They oppose violence, coercion, intimidation and the denial of the rights of employees and employers. Furthermore, they believe it is incumbent upon all branches of government to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and that government should award contracts based solely on merit to the lowest responsible bidder, regardless of labor affiliation.

High-performing states such as South Carolina received top marks for their right-to-work policies and opposition to PLA and prevailing wage mandates. Conversely, low performing states such as New Mexico, Alaska and New York received the poorest overall rankings because they earned a D or F grade for their policies on PLAs, prevailing wage and right-to-work legislation.

The Merit Shop Scorecard was developed with input from ABC chapters and industry stakeholders across the country. States were evaluated based on their policies and records on seven key issues:

  • Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)
  • Prevailing Wage
  • Right to Work
  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)
  • Workforce Development
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Job Growth Rate

Criteria and definitions are available on The scorecard will be updated with exclusive state construction unemployment rate estimates from economist Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.


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