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.