Commentary: RTW States Doing Better

Growing twice as fast as forced unionization states

There have been many studies debating the merits of right-to-work legislation. Because state economies are so large and complex, it is difficult to tease out exactly how much of an effect different policies can have.

For example, consider that Michigan gains and loses approximately 800,000 jobs every year.

In the past few decades, and certainly in the 10 years and since the national recession, low-tax, right-to work states have been gaining the most in population, jobs and income. Some economists attribute this at least partly to those policies while others claim different factors, like weather, family or college connections.

Where people move does not always tell you which states are pursuing good policies. But because people are taking in the bulk of economic results — job creation, income growth, housing costs, etc. — and then making a decision to move or stay, migration is perhaps the most important general statistic to consider when evaluating states.

And right-to-work states are still significantly outperforming their counterparts.

According to the latest Census numbers, right-to-work states (excluding Michigan, which switched during the year) grew twice as fast as non-right-to-work states in 2013. And since 2010, worker freedom states grew 3.2 percent (by 3.95 million people) compared to 1.6 percent (2.71 million people) in forced unionization states.

Government policies can make people’s lives better or worse. Right-to-work laws make states better.