United Van Lines released its annual accounting of where American households are moving and Michigan ranked as the 6th highest state in outbound traffic in 2012.

That is a modest improvement over 2011, when the Great Lake State was ranked 4th. Specifically, 58 percent of all United Van Lines 2012 Michigan-related moves are outbound.

The good news is that this isn't the most recent improvement in the state's ranking. From 2006 through 2009, Michigan ranked as the company's No. 1 state for outbound moving traffic.

Also, by making this state a more attractive place for investors and entrepreneurs to locate job-producing enterprises, the adoption of a right-to-work law bodes well for workers here, making it less likely they’ll have to move elsewhere for opportunity. Over time, right-to-work states have experienced far higher rates of net inbound migration: From 2000 through 2009 they gained 5 million people who had moved from non-right-to-work states.

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Rigorous statistical analyses performed for his 2010 Cato Journal article “Right-to-Work Laws: Liberty, Prosperity, and Quality of Life” by economist Richard Vedder support this speculation. After controlling for the many factors that influence people’s decision to move, he concluded: “Without exception, in all the estimations, a statistically significant positive relationship … was observed between the presence of right-to-work laws and net migration.”

United Van Lines identified the top five highest outbound traffic states in the continental U.S. as New Jersey, Illinois, West Virginia, New York and New Mexico and the highest inbound states (if you include the District of Columbia) as Washington D.C., Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Mackinac Center has done a statistical analysis of United Van Lines data and actual Census data in the past and found the two to be highly correlated.

Related Articles:

Michigan's Net Out-Migration Much Reduced But Still Negative

Americans are Moving to Right-to-Work States

That’s What We Said

West Virginia House Vote Could Tip National Scale on Right-to-Work

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Pivotal Right-to-Work Case

Don’t Limit Workers’ Right to Work

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There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

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