Torr: Unemployment Lower in Right-to-Work States

Monday, April 6, 2009 7:00 pm

Start Date:  4/6/2009  All Day  
End Date:  4/6/2009    

The median unemployment rate of right-to-work states was 1.3 percent lower than that of non-right-to-work states in February 2009, according to figures derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Right-to-work states had a median unemployment rate of 6.6 percent, while the median unemployment rate for the other states was 7.9 percent. 

This means, if Indiana were a right-to-work state, 32,000 more unemployed Hoosiers would have jobs today.

Moreover, employees in right-to-work states have more spending power.  According to the most recent figures available, the average weekly wage (adjusted for cost of living) of an employee in a right-to-work state is $771 compared to $756 in a non-right-to-work state. 

By February 2009, Indiana's unemployment rate had reached a statewide average of 9.4 percent.  With so many Hoosiers unemployed, the already dead-broke unemployment insurance trust fund is being pushed well beyond its limitations.

The best way to solve our unemployment problem is to develop a business environment that attracts investors and entrepreneurs, while encouraging growth for Indiana's existing businesses. The easiest, least expensive way for our state to create that environment is by passing right-to-work legislation.

Right-to-work simply makes sure that an employee cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. 

It seems like a minor change to Indiana law, but the benefits would be significant and immediate.  We can put thousands of Hoosiers back to work and increase their spending power. What are we waiting for?

Twenty-two states, mostly in southern and western United States, currently have right-to-work legislation in place. None of the states surrounding Indiana have a right-to-work law, giving Indiana a greater advantage over our direct competitors in attracting new jobs if we had a right-to-work law.