INSTITUTE INDEX: The South's construction boom leaves workers behind

Number of cities in the South* where a new report by the Texas-based Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, and the University of Illinois at Chicago examined conditions for construction workers: 6**

Total number of construction workers employed in those six cities: nearly 1 million

Rank of 2015 among the years with the highest number of on-the-job fatalities involving construction workers since the 2008 recession: 1

Number of U.S. construction workers killed on the job in 2015: 900

Of the 1,435 workers surveyed by the study, portion who reported being injured during their construction career: 1 in 7

Of those workers injured in the past year, percent who had their medical expenses covered by workers' compensation insurance: 5

Percent of the workers surveyed whose employers have workers' compensation insurance: 45

Percent whose employers offer health insurance: 43

Percent whose employers provide paid sick leave: 22

Percent whose workplaces don't even provide drinking water as required by federal law: about 33

Amount nonfatal injuries to construction workers in those six cities cost annually in medical expenses, lawsuits, lost wages and productivity, etc.: $1.47 billion

In the five states with cities included in the study, total construction spending in 2015: $175 billion

Portion of dollars the industry generates nationally that were accounted for by activity in those five states alone: 1/4

Rank of the South among U.S. regions where construction workers are paid the least: 1

Percent of the construction workers surveyed who make less than $15 an hour: 57

Percent who report struggling to pay for basic necessities like rent or food: 36

Average annual salary for general construction laborers in Chicago: $59,000

In New York: $51,000

In Dallas: $28,000

Median monthly paycheck for a construction worker in Miami before taxes are deducted: $2,800

Median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment there: $1,900

Percent of those surveyed who experienced wage theft at some point in their construction careers: 11

For those who experienced wage theft in the previous year, median amount stolen: $800

Percent of workers who experienced wage theft who were able to recover lost wages: 23

Percent of workers who were misclassified by their employer as independent contractors, taking away their rights to minimum wage and overtime payments and shifting the employer's share of payroll taxes to other taxpayers: 32

Number of recommendations the report offers to improve conditions for construction workers, including enforcing existing policies and adopting new ones: 7

* The study counts 17 states, along with the District of Columbia, as part of the South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

** Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee.

(All of the figures in this index are from "Build a Better South: Construction Working Conditions in the Southern U.S.," a collaboration by the Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.)