Right to Work Indiana’s Private-Sector, Payroll Employment Grew by Nearly 60,000 in 2012

A year ago last month, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a measure making Indiana America’s 23rd Right to Work state.  This came to pass only because thousands of determined Hoosier had labored for years, with the National Right to Work Committee’s assistance, to make it happen.  Right to Work activists in Indiana were and are motivated both by strong moral opposition to compulsory unionism and by a desire to promote faster job and income growth for their state.  Of these two motives, the first is the most important.

Nevertheless, punditry about Indiana’s and other Right to Work laws (see the link below, for example) tends heavily to focus on the economic impact, rather than on the direct and immediate effect: furnishing equal protection for the individual employee’s freedom to join or not join a union.  That effect is automatic in every workplace where a forced-unionism contract expires or where no union contract was in force when the law went on the books.

In contrast, the economic data are just beginning to come in, and we won’t have a full picture for years to come.  Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that new U.S. Labor Department data show that in 2012 Right to Work Indiana’s private-sector payroll employment grew by nearly 60,000, or 2.5%.  That percentage gain is well above the national average and greater than the 2012 gains for all seven forced-unionism states in the Midwest.  (The seven include Michigan, whose new Right to Work law won’t be in effect until later this week.)

Is Indiana’s Right to Work Making an Impact?