In May, a Flowering of Jobs in RTW States

“Massacre” isn’t descriptive enough.

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.”

Last month, of 19,530 projected jobs, 18,100 — 92.7 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:


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

There were two domestic relocations from compulsory-union to RTW states: the District of Columbia to Florida, and California to Texas. And Japan’s Kubota moved its headquarters from California to Texas.

It was a big month for foreign direct investment. Here again, the disparity was wide. Thirteen investments were made in RTW states, but only three in non-RTW states.

It’s important to note that Kentucky continues to attract a wildly disproportionate share of “non-RTW” projects. In May, a whopping 44.5 percent of non-RTW jobs were located in Kentucky, which is experimenting with county-level RTW ordinances.

For the year, Area Development listed announcements of 78,985 jobs, with 84.1 percent slated for RTW states.

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 by elected officials and economic-development bureaucracies.

* 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.