Employees in Their Prime Working Years Flock to Large Metro Areas in Right to Work States

State laws authorizing union officials to cut deals with employers forcing employees to pay union dues or fees, or be fired from their jobs, have for decades been negatively correlated with private-sector employment and compensation growth.

A new analysis of recent domestic migration patterns among working-age Americans indicates that the massive net migration of jobs, salaries, wages, and other forms of employee compensation out of forced-unionism states and into Right to Work states has continued during and since the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

On his newgeography.com web site and in Forbes magazines, California professor and policy analyst Joel Kotkin recently looked at the 2007-2012 “changes in the population numbers” in the 51 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with a population over one million for three different subsets of today’s working-age population: “people who in 2007 were 15-29, 30-44 and 45-59.”  (See the link below for Kotkin’s entire commentary.)

By 2012, of course, these three contingents were respectively aged 20-34, 35-49, and 50-64.  For all three groups, large metropolitan areas located in forced-unionism states were greatly overrepresented at the bottom.  For example, according to Kotkin, the five metro areas with the slowest growth among the youngest working-age group (15-29 in 2007, 20-34 in 2012) were Cleveland, Ohio (47th), Buffalo, N.Y. (48th), Rochester, N.Y. (49th), Detroit, Mich. (50th), and Riverside-San Bernadino, Calif. (51st).  Ohio, New York, Michigan and California all lacked Right to Work laws as of 2012, though Michigan did become a Right to Work state early this year.

At the same time, large metro areas located in Right to Work states are overrepresented among the top-ranking states for growth among all three subsets of working-age population.

This is especially true when it comes to people who were aged 30-44 in 2007.  As Kotkin explains, this may well be the most important group to watch:

This is the group just ahead of the millennials, and the one most likely to provide hints of where the millennials will move as 20 million enter their 30s over the next decade: the dreaded (at least for some) age of marriage, settling down and, in most cases, starting families.

Nine of the top 10 large metro areas for growth in working-age people who are in their prime years for starting families and purchasing homes are located entirely in Right to Work states.  The sole exception is Washington, D.C., whose metropolitan area is located largely in Right to Work Virginia.

Here are the large metro areas with the biggest gains in 35-49 year-olds in 2012, relative to the number of 30-44 year-olds they had in 2007, according to Kotkin:

1. New Orleans, La.  2. Miami, Fla.  3. San Antonio, Texas  4. Raleigh, N.C.  5.  Charlotte, N.C./S.C.  6.  Washington, D.C./Md./Va.  7. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.  8. Orlando, Fla.  9.  Houston, Texas  10.  Oklahoma City, Okla.

Where Working-Age Americans Are Moving