Broad Jobs Index, Big Right to Work Advantage

From 2006 to 2016, civilian household employment grew by more than twice as much in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire decade as in the 24 states that imposed forced union dues and fees on employees for the whole time. Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

U.S. Department of Labor data accessible on the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics web site show that the number of civilian household jobs (a broad measure that includes the self-employed and contractors as well as workers on employer payrolls)  grew by just 4.9% from 2006 to 2016.

But some states fared far better than others. The 22 states that already had Right to Work laws on the books back in 2006 enjoyed overall household employment growth of 8.1% over the next 10 years.  (See the link below for more information.)

Meanwhile, aggregate employment in the 24 states that still lacked Right to Work protections for employees as of the end of last year grew by just 3.5%, or less than half the Right to Work average.  (The four states that switched from forced-unionism to Right to Work between 2012 and 2016 are excluded from this analysis and what follows. Kentucky and Missouri, whose Right to Work laws were adopted this year, are counted as forced-unionism states here.)

Eight states suffered employment losses of at least 0.5% from 2006 to 2016. Of these, seven are non-Right to Work. Meanwhile, all of the top four states for 10-year employment growth are Right to Work states.

In addition to being correlated with faster job growth, Right to Work laws are correlated with higher real compensation per private-sector employee. U.S. Commerce Department data for 2015, adjusted for interstate differences in cost of living according to an index calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency, show that average compensation per private sector employee in Right to Work states was $46,041, $1566 higher than the average for forced-unionism states.

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