Manufacturing Employment On The Rise In ‘Right To Work’ Indiana
Stan Greer, CNS News
As Indiana became America’s 23rd Right to Work state in early 2012, just a little more than five years ago, many proponents like then-Congressman Mike Pence (now the U.S. Vice President) contended the new law prohibiting the termination of employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to a union would make the Hoosier State more attractive to manufacturing employers and foster job growth in that high-paying sector. Big Labor and its allies loudly disagreed.
Today, Indiana citizens who emphasized Right to Work’s potential as a job-creation strategy have ample evidence to demonstrate they were right.
In February 2012, the month the Right to Work statute was adopted, Indiana had 470,800 manufacturing jobs, according to seasonally unadjusted U.S. Labor Department data. By January 2017, the most recent month for which statistics are available at this writing, Indiana’s total manufacturing employment had increased by 11.2 percent to 523,700.
Indiana’s percentage increase in factory jobs since it became Right to Work is more than two-and-a-half times as great as the nationwide gain of 4.3 percent over the same period. Meanwhile, manufacturing employment has actually fallen by 1.9 percent in Illinois, Indiana’s forced-unionism neighbor to the west. Ohio, Indiana’s forced-unionism neighbor to the east, has had a percentage gain only about one-half as great as Indiana’s.
U.S. Labor Department data also show that the average weekly earnings for manufacturing employees in Indiana have grown by 12.7 percent since February 2012, faster than the national average and far above the 7.0 percent increase in inflation as measured by the consumer price index over the same period.
One notable beneficiary of the manufacturing success that Indiana has enjoyed since passing Right to Work is the community of Anderson, located a little less than an hour’s drive northeast of Indianapolis. As a March 16 report by Kylie Veleta for Inside Indiana Business noted, not long ago Anderson was “making headlines for having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.”