Between 1970 and 2000 employment in construction grew nearly half again as fast in right-to-work states. This trend was particularly sharp in the 1990s as the average annual growth in construction jobs reached 4.4 percent in right-to-work states versus 2.5 percent in non-right-to-work states.
Since then, construction employment has slowed down somewhat, but right-to-work states continue to have a definite edge. Between 2001 and 2006 non-right-to-work states increased construction payrolls by an average of 1.7 percent per year or 9.5 percent for the five-year period. Right-to-work states increased their construction payrolls by 3.3 percent per year, which translates into 18.3 percent for the entire period, nearly double the growth rate of non-right-to-work states.
Four states, all non-right-to-work, experienced declines. Michigan saw the sharpest decline, losing 12.6 percent of its construction payroll over the five-year period, an average of 2.7 percent decline per year.