RTW Prevails, for the Seventh Month in a Row

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 13,526 projected jobs, 9,381 — 69.4 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:


Fifteen domestic companies based in non-RTW states announced investments in RTW states. Just four announcements went the other way.

There were two domestic relocations from compulsory-union to RTW states, and two RTW-to-non-RTW moves.

Foreign direct investment was highly skewed. Seventeen projects headed to RTW states, but only one is to occur in a non-RTW state.

With nearly 30 percent of jobs projected for non-RTW states, July yielded compulsory unionism’s best performance of the year. But the results were greatly biased, due to California-based ZenPayroll’s decision to hire 1,750 employees in Colorado. (The Denver Post reported that Governor John Hickenlooper hailed “the news as perhaps the largest single jobs announcement in state history.”)

Marquee RTW wins included the decision by Connecticut-based United Technologies to build its “Center for Intelligent Buildings” in Florida, the relocation of California-based LiveOps, a cloud-computing form, to Texas, and the selection of Arizona to build a research-and-development facility for a partnership between General Electric and Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

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.

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