Spring 2021: Right to Work Benefits Fact Sheet


The National Institute for Labor Relations Research regularly updates research as new reports become available and we recently updated the Spring 2021 Right to Work Benefits Fact Sheet. (Click here for a copy of the Spring 2021 Right to Work Benefits Fact Sheet.)

Percentage Growth in the
Number of People Employed
Right to Work States11.0%
Forced-Unionism States2.4%
Source: Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Household Survey
Growth in Manufacturing,
Private-Sector Payroll Employment
Right to Work States9.1%
Forced-Unionism States-0.2%
BLS Establishment Survey
Percentage Growth in Total
Private-Sector, Non-Farm Employment
Right to Work States24.5%
Forced-Unionism States18.7%
Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Cost of Living-Adjusted
Per Capita Disposable Income
Right to Work States$50,546
Forced-Unionism States$49,202
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC); BEA
Cost of Living-Adjusted
After-Tax Mean Income Per Household
Right to Work States$64,572
Forced-Unionism States$60,244
Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (BOC); MERIC; Tax Foundation
Aggregate “Tax Freedom Day”
Right to Work StatesApril 9
Forced-Unionism StatesApril 22
Tax Foundation; BEA
Growth in the Number of Residents
Aged 35-54
Right to Work States1.0%
Forced-Unionism States-7.4%
Welfare (TANF) Recipients
Per 1,000 Residents
(FY 2020)
Right to Work States3.0
Forced-Unionism States9.3
U.S. Admin. For Children and Families; BOC
Unfunded Liabilities Per Capita of
Public Pension Plans
(FY 2018)
Right to Work States$11,395
Forced-Unionism States$19,028
American Legislative Exchange Council
Percentage Growth in
Real Household Consumption
Right to Work States19.9%
Forced-Unionism States15.8%
New Privately-Owned Single-Unit
Housing Authorizations Per 1,000 Residents
(CY 2020)
Right to Work States4.2
Forced-Unionism States1.7

*The term “Tax Freedom Day” was coined and popularized by the nonpartisan, Washington, D.C. based Tax Foundation. As the Tax Foundation has explained, it is “the day when Americans . . . finally have earned enough money to pay off their total [federal, state and local] tax bill for the year.” (For simplicity’s sake, the Tax Foundation assumes an equal amount of income is earned every day and does not distinguish weekdays from weekends.)
Indiana and Michigan became Right to Work states in early 2012 and early 2013, respectively. Wisconsin’s Right to Work law was adopted in March 2015. West Virginia banned forced union dues and fees in 2016, and Kentucky became Right to Work in 2017. These five states are excluded from all multi-year analyses. They are included among the Right to Work states for analyses covering only a period since their laws took effect. Since the Missouri Right to Work adopted in 2017 never took effect, it is never counted as a Right to Work state.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the above NILRR.org Fact Sheet.