A Holly Jolly Month for Right to Work

The Rio Grande Foundation is tracking announcements of expansions, relocations, and greenfield investments published on Area Development‘s website. Founded in 1965, the publication “is considered the leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation. … Area Development is published quarterly and has 60,000 mailed copies.” In an explanation to the Foundation, its editor wrote that items for Area Development’s announcements listing are “culled from RSS feeds and press releases that are emailed to us from various sources, including economic development organizations, PR agencies, businesses, etc. We usually highlight ones that represent large numbers of new jobs and/or investment in industrial projects.”

In December, of 18,102 projected jobs, 13,934 — 77 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:


Eleven domestic companies based in non-RTW states announced investments in RTW states. Just five announcements went the other way.

RTW prevailed in foreign direct investment (FDI), too. Fifteen projects are headed to RTW states, with nine to occur in non-RTW states.

Two facilities were relocated from one type of state to the other — with both shifting from non-RTW to RTW. (New York to Florida and California to Nevada.)

Marquee RTW wins included CVS’s choice of Florida to base 500 “pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and administrative staff,” Farady Future’s plan to employ 4,500 at its new factory in Nevada, and Switch’s decision to build a data center for 1,000 IT professionals in Michigan.

Kentucky, once again, grabbed a big share of non-RTW jobs: 67 percent. But the Bluegrass State’s compulsory-unionism status is ambiguous. Counties are experimenting with their own RTW measures, and legislators could soon pass a RTW law that Governor Matt Bevin is sure to sign.

Methodological specifics:

* All job estimates — “up to,” “as many as,” “about” — were taken at face value, for RTW and non-RTW states alike.

* If an announcement did not make an employment projection, efforts were made to obtain an estimate from newspaper articles and/or press releases from additional sources.

* If no job figure could be found anywhere, the project was not counted, whether it was a RTW or non-RTW state.

* Intrastate relocations were not counted, interstate relocations were.

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4 Replies to “A Holly Jolly Month for Right to Work”

  1. Thanks for the website http://www.areadevelopment.com.

    8 states are offering quality jobs incentives: Colo, Fl, Ga, Iowa, La, Miss, NM and Okla. all but Colorado are right to work states with wages (Iowa excepted) the lowest in the country. New Mexico’s High Wage Tax Credit Program offers refundable tax credits equal to 10% of wages and benefits for each “high wage job” up to $12,000 per job maximum; $60,000 if in an urban area and $40,000 if in a rural area.

    Manufacturing has the highest economic multiplier of any industry; every $1.00 invested generates $1.33 in economic activity – 5 times that of other industries. States are trying to capture this multipler effect by attracting manufacturing companies and recognizing the importance of lower skilled manufacturing jobs contribution to a robust economy.

    Regardless of the level of state support, local partnerships between development officials and responsive local developers are best positioned to identify grants and other financing mechanisms needed to help capitalize projects and efforts that are the deciding factors in whether a community retains an existing facility or wins a new project.

  2. Sorry, New Mexico is not a right to work state. See my comment on Paul Gessing’s post New Mexico comes in 51st again … (in the December Archives) detailing the lowest wages in the country in most right to work states. Again I ask Paul why he believes right to work is an advantage?

  3. The only argument I’ve seen against Right to Work is the canard that wages are higher in compulsory-union states. That difference disappears if you factor in the cost of living in, say, California vs. Oklahoma. The only beneficiaries of compulsory unionization are union leaders and the politicians they support. Any benefit to workers is beside the point.

    RTW is a hygiene factor, along with reforms in workers comp, taxes, education and public safety, that will remove barriers to business operations. Whatever incentives New Mexico offers to specific businesses will be more effective if we improve the environment for all businesses.

  4. Read your many posts and impressed with the clarity and content of your writing. Would be interested in learning more about what you call the “hygiene factor” that will remove barriers to business operations.

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