Right to Work States Benefit From Faster Growth, Higher Real Purchasing Power


Right to Work States Benefit From Faster Growth, Higher Real Purchasing Power — Spring 2018 Update

Percentage Growth in Total Private
Sector, Non-Farm Employment
Right to Work States 14.0%
Forced-Unionism States 10.7%
Source: Dept.of Commerce (DOC), Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Percentage Growth in the
Number of People Employed
Right to Work States 8.8%
Forced-Unionism States 4.2%
Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Household Survey
Growth in Manufacturing,
Private-Sector Payroll Employment
Right to Work States 5.5%
Forced-Unionism States 1.7%
BLS Establishment Survey
Cost of Living-Adjusted Per Capita
Disposable Personal Income
Right to Work States  $          42,857
Forced-Unionism States  $          40,611
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center; BEA
“Tax Freedom Day”*
Right to Work States April 13
Forced-Unionism States April 26
Tax Foundation; BEA
Unfunded Liabilities Per Capita of
Public Pension Plans (2017)
Right to Work States $14,095
Forced-Unionism States $23,354
American Legislative Exchange Council
Percentage Real Growth in
Household Consumption
Right to Work States 20.2%
Forced-Unionism States 15.6%
Source: Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
Welfare (TANF) Recipients
Per 1000 Residents
(FY 2017)
Right to Work States 3.8
Forced-Unionism States 11.6
U.S. Admin. for Children and Families; DOC Census Bureau (BOC)
Growth in Number of Residents
Aged 35-54
Right to Work States 1.8%
Forced-Unionism States -7.4%
Growth in Employment of Majority-Owned
U.S. Affiliates of Nondomestic Companies
Right to Work States 28.7%
Forced-Unionism States 21.0%
New Privately-Owned Single-Unit Housing
Authorizations Per Thousand Residents
(CY 2017 – preliminary)
Right to Work States 3.4
Forced-Unionism States 1.6


* 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, and West Virginia banned forced union dues and fees in 2016. These four states are excluded from all multi-year analyses including the year in which they went Right to Work.  They are included among the Right to Work states for analyses covering only the period since their laws took effect. Since the Kentucky Right to law was not adopted until last year, it is counted as Right to Work only for the analyses covering 2017 or 2018 alone.  Since the Missouri Right to Work adopted in 2017 has yet to take effect, it is never counted as a Right to Work state.

To obtain more detailed information about how any or all of the above comparative economic data were derived, contact Stan Greer — e-mail . National Institute for Labor Relations Research     5211 Port Royal Road, Suite 510  Springfield, VA 22151