Construction Jobs Initiative

When the Obama Administration took office in 2009, union leaders were called to the White House to help forge an economic recovery plan. The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust responded to this challenge with its Construction Jobs Initiative (CJI) – a plan to generate union construction jobs in response to the dramatic increase in construction unemployment during the recession by investing union pension capital. The CJI served as a catalyst for HIT’s investment in 90 projects in eight years - nearly a project a month – and the creation of approximately on-site 23,900 union construction jobs.

While construction was hit harder by the recession and lost more jobs than any other industry, it also offers and opportunity for broader economic gains. For every job created for construction workers on a building site, additional jobs are generated for architects, engineers, materials suppliers, shippers, and others who provide goods and services. Because of this multiplier effect, the 90 construction projects financed by the HIT and its Building America CDE, Inc. subsidiary helped produce an estimated 51,000 total jobs across economic sectors in 39 cities during the eight-year period.


During the CJI, the HIT raised $2.3 billion in new capital, grew its net assets by 67%, and attracted 100 new investors. It provided $2.3 billion of capital and Building America supplied $85 million of New Markets Tax Credits, helping to build or preserve over 28,500 housing units on total development investment of $5.3 billion. These and other impacts of the CJI projects are detailed in a report on the CJI, which highlights six cities.

Estimated impacts across the nation include:

  • $8.1 billion in total economic impact
  • $3.3 billion in wages and benefits
  • $1.1 billion in tax revenue for governments at all levels

* All impact numbers above, including jobs, wages & benefits, and other economic impacts are estimates calculated by Pinnacle Economics and the HIT using an IMPLAN model based on HIT project data and secondary source materials. Impacts include projects financed by HIT subsidiary Building America CDE, Inc. and are in 2016 dollars.