In a Photo Finish, RTW Wins Again

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 March, of 13,793 projected jobs, 6,901 — 50.03 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:

There’s no point in denying reality: RTW states’ win was razor thin, and by far the cohort’s poorest performance since our analysis began. But as it has in the past, Missouri played a major role in non-RTW states’ numbers. Last year, the Show Me State’s legislature adopted, and its governor signed, a RTW bill. But Big Labor, using its considerable political muscle, blocked enactment of the law, and now the final decision will be made by voters in November. So Missouri remains a “non-RTW state,” even though its status is somewhat ambiguous. Either way, it accounted for just under 40 percent of projected job creation in compulsory-unionism states.

As for the sub-metrics the Foundation scrutinizes:

* Fourteen domestic companies based in non-RTW states announced investments in RTW states. Just two went the other way.

* RTW prevailed in foreign direct investment, too. Fourteen projects are headed to RTW states, with three to occur in non-RTW states.

* One relocation will be made from a non-RTW to a RTW state, with none moving in the other direction.

* In the greenfield-project sub-metric, RTW prevailed, 17-6.

Marquee RTW investments included:

* a “global provider of smarter payments and integrated commerce solutions,” i2c “plans to open a new operations center” in Nebraska (300 jobs)

* Lionchase Holdings picked Texas for a “a 200,000-square foot cold storage facility” (100 jobs)

* Spain’s Truck & Wheel Group celebrated the “opening of a new $30 million, 127,000-square-foot, manufacturing facility” in Alabama (70 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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