In September, RTW States Score Another Win

The Rio Grande Foundation is tracking announcements of expansions, relocations, and greenfield investments published on Area Development‘s website. Founded in 1965, the publication “is considered the leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation. … Area Development is published quarterly and has 60,000 mailed copies.” In an explanation to the Foundation, its editor wrote that items for Area Development’s announcements listing are “culled from RSS feeds and press releases that are emailed to us from various sources, including economic development organizations, PR agencies, businesses, etc. We usually highlight ones that represent large numbers of new jobs and/or investment in industrial projects.”

Last month, of 17,908 projected jobs, 12,274 — 71.9 percent — were slated for right-to-work (RTW) states:

Twelve domestic companies based in non-RTW states announced investments in RTW states. Just two announcements went the other way.

Foreign direct investment was also highly skewed. Eighteen projects are headed to RTW states, but only four are to to occur in non-RTW states.

Marquee RTW wins included the decision by Mercedes-Benz to spend $1.3 billion on a “major expansion” of its factory in Alabama, Boeing’s announcement of 200 new employees to “produce 747 fuselage panels” in Georgia, and Blue Origin’s pick of Florida for “launch, manufacturing and support facilities for its Orbital Launch Vehicle program.” (Ouch — another loss for “Spaceport America.”)

Methodological specifics:

* All job estimates — “up to,” “as many as,” “about” — were taken at face value, for RTW and non-RTW states alike.

* If an announcement did not make an employment projection, efforts were made to obtain an estimate from newspaper articles and/or press releases by elected officials and economic-development bureaucracies.

* If no job figure could be found anywhere, the project was not counted, whether it was a RTW or non-RTW state.

* Intrastate relocations were not counted, interstate relocations were.