Right to Work Michigan and Indiana Lead the U.S. in Manufacturing Job Growth

As Shopfloor, the blog of the National Association of Manufacturers, reported last week, Michigan and Indiana, the two most recent states to adopt Right to Work laws barring forced union dues and fees until Wisconsin became the 25th just this month, were respectively No. 1 and No. 2 among the 50 states in net manufacturing job creation from January 2014 through January 2015.

Right to Work Michigan added 24,900 manufacturing employees over this period; Right to Work Indiana added 17,900. Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia, all Right to Work states, rounded out the top five in net absolute manufacturing job gains for the 12 month-period ending in January.  (See the link below for the whole Shopfloor account.)

It’s not surprising that the Right to Work laws adopted by Michigan in December 2012 and by Indiana in January 2012 would help put those states at the top of the pack in factory job creation.  Long-term data show manufacturing output is growing far more rapidly in states where unionism is voluntary.

From 2003 to 2013, for example, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, the 22 states with Right to Work protections for the entire decade experienced total real manufacturing output growth of 26.1%, nearly double the increase for the 26 states that lacked Right to Work laws for the whole time.

The Right to Work advantage isn’t limited to the factory sector.  Over time, federal data show Right to Work states typically benefit from far more rapid growth in aggregate private-sector employment.  Most important of all, in Right to Work states, unlike in the remaining forced-unionism states, the freedom of individual employees to join and bankroll a union and their freedom to refuse to do either enjoy equal protection under the law.  In forced-unionism states, unfortunately, even employees who choose not to join a union may be compelled to pay union fees, potentially as high as full union dues, in order to avoid being fired.

From 2003 to 2013, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, the aggregate real manufacturing GDP of the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books grew by 26.1%, nearly double the increase for the 26 states that lacked Right to Work protections for the whole time. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images


Michigan Created the Most Manufacturing Jobs in January