Incomes Rise in Right-to-Work Michigan; Officials Project More To Come

Opponents' 'right-to-work for less' predictions fall flat

Twice a year, officials from Michigan's Senate Fiscal Agency, House Fiscal Agency and the Treasury Department assemble to create a consensus estimate of how much revenue the state is likely to collect in the next couple years. In their work, officials consider economic trends that are likely to make a difference in how much money the state takes in.

The consensus from the latest conference, released last week, shows the three agencies projecting that the personal income of Michigan residents will increase faster than inflation over the next three years. The January consensus report projects that personal income for Michigan residents will increase by 3.9 percent this year, 3.7 percent next year and 4.1 percent in 2019.

That’s what may happen in the near future. Here’s what did happen in the recent past: Incomes have been on the rise.

From 2012 to 2015, personal income in the state increased 11.0 percent, which is very close to the national average of 11.2 percent. In each of the first three quarters of 2016, personal income in the state grew by 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent over the previous year, increasing faster than the national average each quarter.

When Michigan’s new-right-to-work law was enacted at the end of 2012, critics claimed it would cause incomes to fall. They mocked a law that frees employees from having to pay union dues as a condition of employment by calling it “right-to-work-for-less.”