A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Since 1990, nearly all of the top 10 states for job growth are right-to-work states, while nearly all of the 10 states with the least amount of job growth are non-right-to-work states.

More broadly, 18 out of the 25 states with the fastest employment growth are right-to-work states while 19 of the 25 states with the slowest growth are non-right-to-work states, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the past nearly quarter of a century, right-to-work states have averaged job growth at about twice the rate of non-right-to-work states.

Excluding Michigan and Indiana (which became right-to-work in 2013 and 2012, respectively) would mean that 21 out of the 25 states with the slowest employment growth are forced unionization states. And that all of the 10 states with the least amount of job growth for the past quarter century are non-right-to-work states.

The employment growth was measured from January of 1990 to April of 2014.

Professor Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan-Flint and an adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the results are not surprising.

"This confirms previous research that shows that economic performance when measured by job growth, unemployment rates, income growth, or new business creation is generally higher in right-to-work states than in forced unionism states," Perry said. "When thousands of firms make decisions on the expansion of their existing operations, opening businesses or factories in new locations, and possibly relocating their businesses, labor costs and labor flexibility are primary considerations. Compared to forced unionism states, right-to-work states offer U.S. and U.S. based companies a more business friendly environment, lower labor costs and greater workplace flexibility, and it makes sense that right-to-work states have demonstrated a clear 'job growth advantage' over their forced unionism counterparts since 1990."

The employment gains cannot be explained by the growth of any particular industry. For example, while the United States has seen a boom in oil and gas production in recent years, the states benefiting the most from this industry’s growth are almost evenly split between right-to-work and non-right-to-work states.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, five of the top 10 oil-producing states were right-to-work over the time period, while four were forced-unionization states and one changed about halfway through. Here are the top 10 states for crude oil production (right-to-work states are in bold): Texas, North Dakota, California, Alaska, Oklahoma (became right-to-work in 2001), New Mexico, Louisiana, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas.

Similarly, according to the EIA, five of the top 10 gas producing states were right-to-work over the time period while four were forced unionization and one changed about halfway through. Here are the top 10 states for natural gas production (right-to-work states are in bold): Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma (became right-to-work in 2001), Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, West Virginia and Utah.

The 10 states with the greatest overall employment growth (right-to-work in bold): Nevada, Utah, North Dakota, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota.

The top 10 states with the least employment growth: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Michigan (became a right-to-work state in 2013), New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maine and Massachusetts.

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See also:

Right-to-Work States See Larger Gains

Right-to-Work Laws Lead To More People, More Jobs and Higher Pay

Employees In Right-to-Work States Are Richer

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Director of Education Policy Audrey Spalding describes her latest study on right-to-work law violations in public school contracts and suggests why districts and unions are ignoring the law.


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