We are interested in the relationship between economic freedom, especially regarding labor markets, and economic outcomes. We focus on local economies, defined as metropolitan statistical areas. We examine three outcome variables: unemployment rate, employment growth and population growth. When their unemployment rate is lower and their employment and population growth are higher, areas tend to be more economically prosperous.
We examine the most recent available data for 383 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas. We break these MSAs into four groups, or quartiles, for presentation purposes: Most free 25%, second most free 25%, third most free 25%, and least free 25%. We compare our outcome variables across those four groups.
We also provide the individual freedom scores of the 14 MSAs in Michigan and compare the unemployment rate and employment and population growth among these statistical entities. Due to limited data availability for local governments, the most recent local economic freedom scores are for 2017.