News Story

Michigan’s Right-To-Work Law Improves Lives But 'Screwing Up' Media Narratives

Incomes here were falling before law went into effect, have risen since

A few weeks after Michigan’s new right-to-work policy was signed into law — but a little more than two months before it went into effect — the Detroit Free Press published this graphic, produced by cartoonist Mike Thompson, on Jan. 13, 2013.


In the eight years before Michigan adopted right-to-work, it had been dead last among the states for growth in its gross domestic product. In the eight years since, its growth rate rose from last place to to 32nd.

From 2005 to 2012, Michigan’s inflation-adjusted median household income fell 13.4%. From 2012 to 2019, it rose by 14.2%.

Michigan’s poverty rate increased from 13.2% to 17.4% from 2005 to 2012. The number living in poverty here fell from 17.4% to 13.0% in the eight years after right-to-work became the law.

Figures from the year 2020 are not included due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.