Right to Work’s Job-Growth Edge: Greater Than 2:1


In the 22 states that already had Right to Work laws on the books in 2008, total employment grew by 10.8% over the next decade. That’s more than double the increase for the 23 states that still lack Right to Work protections for employees today. Image: floridacareercenters.org

At the end of last month, the U.S. Labor Department issued new and revised data regarding the number of civilian household jobs (a broad measure that includes the self-employed and contractors as well as workers on employer payrolls) in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In the aggregate, the data show household employment growth of 7.2% from 2008 through 2018. But some states fared far better than others.

The 22 states that already had Right to Work laws prohibiting forced union dues and fees on the books  back in 2008 enjoyed overall household employment growth of 10.8% over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, aggregate employment in the 23 states that still haven’t adopted Right to Work laws in 2019 grew by just 5.0%, or less than half the Right to Work average.

(Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky passed and began implementing Right to Work laws between 2012 and 2017. They are excluded from this analysis.)

Among the 45 states that did not change their policies regarding forced union dues and fees between 2008 and 2018, five suffered employment losses of at least 0.5% over the course of the decade. Of these, four are non-Right to Work states.

Meanwhile, eight of the top 10 states for 10-year employment growth are Right to Work states.