Still don’t think “Right to Work” has a positive impact on the economy?

We at the Rio Grande Foundation have taken a keen interest in economic developments in West Virginia. The Mountaineer State has historically had a lot in common with New Mexico (although that is rapidly-changing).

But, in February of 2016, West Virginia did something New Mexico hasn’t and likely won’t do for some time: it went “Right to Work.” Almost on cue, the unemployment rate began to fall in West Virginia (as seen in the chart below).

But, in August, a judge issued an injunction halting law from being implemented and enforced. And again, almost on cue (again as seen in the chart above) West Virginia’s unemployment rate began to move, this time in the opposite direction (higher).

Now, “right to work” laws have been deemed legal all over the nation and three new states, Missouri, Kentucky, and New Hampshire are all in line to adopt similar laws, so it is VERY likely that West Virginia will soon see its law blessed. But, businesses HATE uncertainty and they also don’t like to wait for the legal system to work things out.

Could it all be a huge coincidence? Sure. New Mexico stood pat and has seen some ups and downs (mostly ups) to its unemployment rate, but I’m going to predict that WHEN West Virginia’s law is approved by the courts, the Mountaineer State will leave New Mexico in the dust economically….not just in unemployment, but overall job growth, and other economic measures as well. After all, some have expressed doubts about “right to work” by calling for data from a single state to show whether such laws have an impact (or not).

It would seem we have even more data in the affirmative.