RTW Strikes Back in October

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 October, of 15,789 projected jobs, 14,080 — 89.2 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:

In September, non-RTW states notched their highest numbers. But October’s results yielded one of RTW’s best performances. And the dominance would have been greater, if not for the assignment of Missouri’s 580 jobs to the non-RTW category. (The Show Me State is in a kind of netherworld at this point, with a RTW law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, yet suspended due to a pending ballot initiative.)

As for the sub-metrics the Foundation scrutinizes:

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

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

* Two foreign-owned corporations relocated operations from non-RTW to RTW states, with none shifting the other way.

Marquee RTW investments included:

* South Korea’s Hankook Tire opened a “1.5-million square foot manufacturing facility” in Tennessee, planning to eventually hire a total of 1,800 workers.

* Medical-device company Arthrex launched “new manufacturing operations” in South Carolina, expecting “to create more than 1,000 new jobs over the next several years.”

* Lear Corporation “broke ground on a new seat manufacturing facility” in Michigan, intending to “employ approximately 600 workers.”

* California-based Ingram Micro announced plans to “lease, renovate and equip a 590,000-square-foot facility” in Indiana, with “plans to create up to 550 new … 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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