At a time when unemployment in the union construction trades is at levels not seen since the Great Depression, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) has reached a milestone by creating more than 10,000 union construction jobs during the past two years. With investments of $963 million in 34 projects across the country, union pension capital invested by the HIT leveraged nearly $2 billion of development activity, while creating or preserving 12,752 housing and healthcare units and achieving competitive returns. With 11,188 jobs actually generated so far, the HIT is raising its goal to a new target of 15,000 jobs.
Examples of the HIT’s recent job-generating investments include three projects in San Francisco – 333 Harrison, Arc Light Co. and Potrero Launch. These three projects represent $105 million in HIT financing and have a total development value of $233 million. They will create 616 housing units and more than 1,300 union construction jobs.
According to John J. Sweeney, the HIT Board Chairman and President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO, the construction industry lost two million jobs since the start of the recession, more than any other sector, and has lagged in the recovery.
The unemployment rate for construction workers remains at Depression-era levels. The HIT is helping put these men and women back to work. We have financed real estate developments that are providing affordable housing, jobs and economic activity in cities from coast to coast.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the HIT’s investments a win-win for working people and their communities:
At a time when construction activity has been at a virtual standstill because many lenders have withdrawn from real estate development, the HIT is financing new projects that will help cities and towns spur economic development and strengthen their communities.
According to Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO:
The HIT is investing union pension capital to create jobs for union construction workers on projects that help communities grow. This is one of the ways unions are supporting America’s economic recovery.
Stephen Coyle, Chief Executive Officer of the HIT, explains that
Our investments help union pension plans earn competitive returns, while also getting union members back on the job. Those workers are not only putting food on their table now, they are also making contributions to their pension plans again, so the pension plan has more money to invest. It’s a cycle that benefits everyone.
The HIT manages $4 billion in assets for approximately 350 investors, which include 40 union and public employee pension plans in California. To learn more, visit www.aflcio-hit.com.