Today the Washington Post trotted out an article entitled “What do ‘right-to-work’ laws do to a state’s economy?” which strangely omitted any mention of such laws’ effect on state unemployment rates. One could conclude solely from reading the article that the pros and cons of right-to-work (RTW) legislation are a tossup. Unfortunately for WaPo, hard data shows that RTW works by facilitating jobs that probably would not be located in those states otherwise.
The reasoning is easy: the average and median October 2012 national unemployment rates were 7.984% and 7.15%, respectively. The average and median October 2012 unemployment rates for RTW states (excluding Michigan, where the law was just passed) were 6.9% and 7%.
Clearly, RTW legislation isn’t a magic bullet for unemployment, Nevada’s rate is a whopping 11.5% despite being an RTW state. But it’s fair to say that if the people of Michigan are interested in improving that statistic, they should support it.