No Matter How You Measure Jobs and Incomes, They’re Growing Faster in Right to Work States


State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings : Multi-Screen 

State Annual Personal Income & Employment

Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that, from 2001 to 2011, cost of living-adjusted private-sector compensation in Right to Work states grew by nearly four times as much as it did in compulsory-unionism states. Image: Human Events

Early this week, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its estimates for total 2012 private-sector payroll employment in the 50 states.  The BLS simultaneously released other an array of other jobs data for 2012 and revised data for a number of previous years.  (See the first link above for more information.)

For more than a decade now, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research has tracked BLS private-sector job-growth trends, in Right to Work and in forced-unionism states,  for the latest 10 years for which data are available.  The first analysis (covering 1991-2001) and every subsequent analysis has shown a substantial advantage for Right to Work states.

For 2002-2012, this is once again the case.  Over the most recent decade for which BLS data are available, private-sector payroll employment in Right to Work states grew by 6.4%.  Meanwhile, forced-unionism states experienced a paltry 0.4% overall increase.

(Because Indiana adopted a Right to Work law in early 2012, it is excluded from this analysis.  Michigan, whose Right to Work law was adopted in December 2012, but won’t take effect until late this month, is counted as a forced-unionism state for this period.)

Right to Work states had superior 2002-2012 private-sector payroll job growth in every U.S. Census Bureau-delineated region of the United States.  In the West, Right to Work employment increased in the aggregate by 10.9%, more than quadruple the increase for the forced-unionism states of that region.  In the Midwest (again excluding Indiana), Right to Work employment grew by 6.5%, but forced-unionism employment fell by 3.4%.  In the South, Right to Work employment grew by 5.8%, triple the forced-unionism gain.

Over the past couple of years, the Institute has tracked the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data for total private-sector employment (see the second link above) as well as the BLS data.  Unlike BLS statistics, BEA statistics measure self-employment and contractual employment as well as payroll jobs.

BEA employment data for 2012 won’t be published until this fall.  But the BEA’s broader analysis of private-sector job growth for 2001-2011 shows an even wider and more robust Right to Work advantage than do the BLS data for that period.  From 2001 to 2011, BEA-reported private-sector employment grew by 12.5%, well over triple the average for forced-unionism states, and nearly double the national average.  All of the top five, and 10 of the top 12, states for BEA-reported 2001-2011 private-employment growth are Right to Work states.  Meanwhile, the 10 bottom-ranking states for BEA-reported private job growth lacked Right to Work laws at the time.

Workers in forced-unionism states suffer from lower compensation growth as well as fewer job opportunities.

From 2001 to 2011, inflation-adjusted (according to the BLS’s CPI-U), BEA-measured private-sector compensation grew roughly four times as much in Right to Work states as it did in force-unionism states.  Sixteen of the 17 bottom-ranking states for compensation growth lacked Right to Work laws during the first decade of the millennium.

The BEA’s compensation and other personal income data for 2012 will be published late next week.  Shortly thereafter, the Institute will report on 2002-2012 private-sector compensation-growth trends in Right to Work and forced-unionism states.