Since January 2015, the Rio Grande 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 June, of 13,073 projected jobs, 12,423 — 95.0 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:
In the three and a half years of our analysis, June saw RTW states post their best performance. The previous “high score” came in May of 2015, when 92.7 percent of job announcements occurred in RTW states.
And as usual, RTW states dominated in the sub-metrics we track:
* Fifteen 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. Ten projects are headed to RTW states, with four to occur in non-RTW states.
* One relocation will be made from non-RTW to RTW states, with none moving in the other direction.
* In the greenfield-project sub-metric, RTW prevailed, 12-1.
Marquee RTW investments in June included:
* Republic Airways announced “plans to establish a U.S.-based flight training academy” in Indiana, and create “600 full-time jobs by 2028”
* VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering “opened its new hangar” in Florida, with the expectation of creating “400 jobs in the region”
* AQST Space Systems chose to move its headquarters from Puerto Rico to Arizona, expecting “to hire up to 125 employees”
* Electro Optic Systems, based in Australia, picked Alabama for its “flagship United States manufacturing facility,” planning to “create as many as 100 jobs in the first year”
* 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.