In a ‘Low Energy’ Month, RTW Still Prevails

Since January 2015, the Rio Grande 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 July, of 7,639 projected jobs, 4,570 — 59.8 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:

Probably due to a summer dull, it was a very light month for all types of investment announcements. But once again, a single company produced a disproportionate share of non-RTW jobs. Amazon’s choice of “the eastern part of the Evergreen State” for a fulfillment center supplied nearly half — 48.9 percent — of non-RTW jobs.

As usual, RTW states dominated in the sub-metrics we track:

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

* RTW prevailed in foreign direct investment, too. Twelve projects are headed to RTW states, with zero slated for non-RTW states.

* Three relocations will be made from non-RTW to RTW states, with none moving in the other direction.

* In the greenfield-project sub-metric, RTW prevailed, 5-0.

Marquee RTW investments in July included:

* Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in America, chose Kentucky for “a $30 million … sales and distribution facility” (430 jobs)

* Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group, “a globally diversified financial services group providing insurance, reinsurance and mortgage insurance,” plans to open an “operational hub” in North Carolina (365 new jobs)

* Aurora Flight Sciences, “a pioneer in unmanned aircraft and autonomous flight,” announced a $13.75 million expansion of its operations in Virginia (135 jobs)

* Complete Flooring Supply, a “China-based flooring supplier,” picked Georgia for a “$30 million … manufacturing plant” (100 jobs)

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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