Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Memorandum on Reducing Seasonal Variation in Government Construction Activities

November 13, 1968

Memorandum for Heads of Departments and Agencies

SUBJECT: Reducing Seasonal Variation in Construction Activity and Employment.

The construction industry has long been plagued by unemployment of labor and other critical resources during off-season periods. This "construction seasonality" hurts the contractor through idle equipment, the worker through greater unemployment, and the consumer through higher prices. These costs are substantial and persistent--seasonal unemployment represents a substantial proportion of all construction unemployment.

More stable employment and the resulting higher annual incomes would attract and hold skilled labor in construction. The reduction of seasonal variation in construction serves the Nation's goals of high employment and price stability.

The Federal Government is a major purchaser of the work of the construction industry. Through many of its programs, the Government has an indirect effect on fluctuations in construction activity. We in the Federal Government have a unique opportunity to help reduce seasonality in construction.

Therefore, I am requesting each department and agency with responsibility for the direct or indirect expenditure of construction funds to take the following steps:

1. Ensure that, in the planning and programming of construction activity, due consideration is given to reducing seasonal variation.

2. Make contracts and schedule projects with regard to local conditions.

3. Encourage completion dates and penalty clauses that facilitate the stretch-out of work into the off season.

4. Determine whether current authorization and appropriations procedures introduce a seasonal pattern into the letting of contracts and the scheduling of construction.

5. Encourage recipients of Federal grants and loans for construction to engage in activities to reduce construction seasonality.

6. Identify and disseminate to appropriate recipients information on techniques and procedures for facilitating year-round construction.

7. Take such additional steps, as may be permitted by law, to promote the scheduling of their construction activities during off-season periods, as will not entail undue impairment of program goals or excessive additional costs.

I am also asking each department or agency with construction responsibilities to transmit to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, not later than July 1, 1969, a report on the steps it has taken to comply with the provisions of this memorandum, together with recommendations for additional measures to reduce the adverse effects on seasonality of its construction programs.

Under Tide IV of the amended Manpower Development and Training Act, which I recently signed, the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce are directed to study and report to the Congress by December 31, 1969, the opportunities for lessening construction seasonality. I therefore ask that each addressee assist the Secretaries of Commerce and Labor in their inquiry into additional measures required to lessen seasonal variation in construction.


Note: The 1968 amendments to the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 were approved on October 24, 1968 as Public Law 90-636 (82 Stat. 1352).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Memorandum on Reducing Seasonal Variation in Government Construction Activities Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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