Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes

Since January 2015, the Foundation has tracked 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 September, of 24,896 projected jobs, 13,656 — 54.9 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:

In three and a half years of conducting our analysis, September saw non-RTW states post their best performance. But once again, it was a single company that rode to the rescue of compulsory unionism. Almost two thirds of the jobs to be created in non-RTW states will be at Amazon facilities in New York, Ohio, and Oregon. When the online retailer begins to ramp down investment in fulfillment centers, our monthly findings are likely to revert to the long-established pattern. (The location of the company’s “second” headquarters, of course, remains an open question — stay tuned.)

As for the sub-metrics the Foundation scrutinizes:

* Seven domestic companies based in non-RTW states announced investments in RTW states. Zero went the other way.

* RTW prevailed in foreign direct investment, too. Nineteen projects are headed to RTW states, with only two to occur in non-RTW states.

Marquee RTW investments included:

* Pluralsight, which “offers on-demand, digital technology learning tools, including more than 6,000 expert-authored technology courses, adaptive skill tests, custom curriculums for individuals and businesses, and live mentoring,” announced plans to hire 2,400 employees at an expanded facility in Utah.

* Volvo decided to invest an additional $520 million in its “operations center” in South Carolina, with plans to create 1,910 jobs.

* Ohio-based 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics chose to build a new factory in Indiana, hiring 155 workers.

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.

* Non-border-crossing relocations were not counted, border-crossing relocations were.

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