Nearly a 2:1 Advantage in Employment Growth

Right to Work states have long outpaced forced-dues states in job growth. And their advantage is now widening.

From 2010-20, Right to Work Private-Sector Jobs Soared by 18%

As the nation strives to get back to normal after the steep COVID-19 recession, it is obvious some states have much further to go than others. 

Recently updated data from the U.S. Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Labor (DOL) show Right to Work states outpaced forced-dues states in job growth by nearly 2:1 over the past decade — and are now poised to get back much sooner to their pre-pandemic job numbers than forced-dues states.

Under the current trend, Right to Work states will surge much further ahead over the next decade.

Jobs in Right to Work States Are Higher Paying As Well as More Plentiful

In September, the DOC released for the first time annual employment numbers for 2020 in the 50 states as well as revised data for earlier years.

The updated DOC data show that, from 2010-20, the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire decade saw an 18.0% increase in their aggregate private-sector employment.

Meanwhile, private-sector employ-ment in the 23 states that are still forced-dues today grew by just 9.7%, or barely more than half as much.

The six top-ranking states over the decade, enjoying employment gains of between 20.8% and 31.3%, are all Right to Work. But none of the four states with negative job growth over the decade has a longstanding Right to Work law, and three are still forced-unionism today.

Jobs in Right to Work states are typically high-quality. National Institute for Labor Relations Research analyses of DOC data show real per-employee compensation in Right to Work states is consistently higher than in forced-dues states.

Employment in Forced-Dues States Still 4.3% Below Pre-COVID-19 Level

After adjusting for regional cost of living differences with indices calculated by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), a state government agency, in 2020 private-sector employees earned over $800 more compensation apiece in Right to Work states than in forced-dues states. 

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen noted that the Right to Work employment advantage has been especially wide since COVID-19 emerged.

“The DOL’s household survey shows that, as of last October, total employment in forced-dues states was still 4.3% below its pre-COVID-19 level in February 2020,” said Mr. Leen.

“The distance the 27 current Right to Work states had to go to get back to their pre-COVID-19 level was roughly one-third as great. Obviously, their complete jobs recovery will come far sooner than in forced-dues states as a group.

“The latest government data simply confirm what Right to Work supporters have been saying for many years: In states where workers are forced to pay tribute to union bosses as a condition of employment, Big Labor’s inordinate economic power results in slower job growth when times are good and greater job destruction when recession strikes.

“The detrimental impact of Big Labor is clear.

“The wasteful work rules, job featherbedding, and union-label ‘hate the boss’ propaganda foisted on employees without Right to Work protections are a recipe for long-term economic disaster.

“American workers are the most resilient in the world, and I have no doubt our country will come roaring back from the recession in time. Unfortunately, in forced-dues states the ‘roar’ may be more of a whisper.

“Today nearly half of all America’s front-line, private-sector employees are potentially at risk of being fired for refusal to bankroll a union they don’t want, and never asked for. Unless Right to Work protections are extended to these employees, they will continue to be left behind as their counterparts in Right to Work states enjoy the full benefits of a strong and recovering economy.

“This is just one of several reasons why every state should be a Right to Work state. Fortunately, because federal labor law is the source of private-sector forced union dues and fees, Congress has the authority as well as the responsibility to fix the problem.

“To ensure the post-COVID-19 recovery flourishes for employees, Congress should pass the National Right to Work Act [H.R.1275/S.406] without further delay.”  

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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