This report presents an analysis of the proposed 1992 Chicago World's Fair in regard to its potential for job creation, the likely beneficiaries of these jobs, and the public policies which might affect the distribution of jobs. Economic development and job creation have been cited as major benefits which a Fair would bring. However, our analysis raises serious questions about the size and impact of these benefits. Based on a review of the experiences with recent Fairs, analysis of job projections by the World's Fair Authority and the characteristics of the available labor force, and an examination of proposed affirmative action policies, we have come to the following conclusions:
1. The Knoxville 1982 and New Orleans 1984 World's Fairs show that: The actual number of jobs created fell over 50% short of official forecasts in both cases. In New Orleans, as many as 5,000 manufacturing jobs may have been lost to the city due to the Fair. Affirmative action plans can make a difference in who is hired to the extent that requirements are comprehensive, explicit and enforced.
2. Most jobs will be created by diverting funds from other job-creating uses. Thus, they are not truly new ones, but simply replace others. This is the case for 4,000 out of the 6,350 construction jobs. However, 33,000 new tourism related jobs may be created if attendance projections are correct.
3. Construction of the Fair, its transportation and parking requirements may directly and indirectly, through increased land values, displace or eliminate some of the 30,000 jobs now around the Fair site. The current attempts to increase the residuals of the Fair by moving the site west increase this threat.
4. The Fair will create a relatively small number of "good" construction jobs, with relatively high earnings and opportunities for advancement. However, minorities and women are currently excluded from full participation in these "good" jobs. The larger number of tourism jobs are more likely to employ women and minorities, but these jobs are poorly paid and unstable.
5. The labor force characteristics of the 420,000 residents in the seven wards surrounding the Fair site are such that at most a few hundred of them can be expected to obtain the well-paid and stable jobs in the construction industry.
6. Area residents should be able to obtain jobs in the tourism industry at least proportionate to their share of the total city population. This would mean 9,240 jobs for six months.
7. In order to assure area residents of these jobs, strong and specific affirmative action plans and programs will be required. Several proven models exist. Unfortunately, the current intergovernmental agreement does not specify any of the mechanisms for affirmative action which are available.
8. The debate about costs and benefits has been at a very unsophisticated level, either erroneously counting all expenditures as "benefits" (as if the money would not have been spent on anything at all without a Fair), or focusing on one or another isolated cost or problem. Only the comprehensive study mandated by the Legislature can do justice to the complexities. Nevertheless, we have attempted to compile a more complete list of costs and benefits, including distributional consequences. Our analysis reemphasizes the importance of the accuracy of attendance projections, especially for out-of-state visitors, and the uncertainties surrounding environmental and social costs and the Fair's residuals.
9. As an overall economic development tool, the Fair promotes employment in a low wage unstable industry, possibly at the expense of manufacturing industry surrounding the site, while leaving an infrastructure the utility of which is unclear and has not been subject to public debate. The full report provides more detail on these conclusions.