A month ago, California legislators trekked to Texas to visit all the new jobs that didn’t land in their own state to figure out what went wrong. According to BizJournals, a few dozen other states might want to make the same trip. Over the last ten years, Texas has added more than 732,000 jobs net as the state withstood the worst recession in decades. The next best state, Arizona, didn’t even make it into six figures:
The inventory of private-sector jobs in Texas increased by 732,800 between April 2001 and the same month this year, according to an On Numbers analysis of new federal employment data. …
Texas avoided the real-estate bust that decimated the economies of several large Sunbelt states, including California and Florida, during the 2008-2010 recession. It consequently was positioned for a faster takeoff once the national economy began improving, allowing it to create 251,700 new jobs in the past year alone.
The runners-up to Texas in private-sector growth were Arizona and Utah, which added 90,200 and 90,000 jobs respectively, during the decade from 2001 to 2011.
Of course, Washington DC ended up 7th on the job-growth list — thanks to the federal government’s expansion at the expense of the states.
Which state did worse? Why, California, of course. They even managed to outstrip Michigan, where the downturn in the auto industry and collapse of GM and Chrysler threw tens of thousands out of work. Ohio, Illinois, and New Jersey all round out the bottom five, all heavy manufacturing states. However, all of these states except New Jersey ranked in the top 10 for the most jobs added in the past year, with California coming in at #2.
What do Texas, Utah, and Arizona all have in common? They are all right-to-work states. Among the top five states, only Washington does not have right-to-work laws allowing employees free choice whether to join unions. Seven of the top ten job-growth states are right-to-work. The only right-to-work state in the bottom 10 is Georgia. Earlier this month, Jim DeMint issued a report showing the correlation between right-to-work legal environments and growth:
A new report from South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s office shows that right-to-work states, or states which prohibit forced unionization and dues payments, are economically outperforming states without the worker protection.
According to DeMint’s study, right-to-work states enjoy more new residents, more new businesses, more new jobs, and faster income growth.
The study shows that more Americans are moving to right-to-work states, causing states that force unionization to lose seats in Congress.
Texas has also worked hard over the decade to lower regulatory burdens and taxes on job creators. Rick Perry has made this one of his signature achievements, and he has repeatedly challenged other states to start competing with Texas on job creation. They have a long way to go before they can dethrone the champion, it appears, and most of them haven’t yet started to take the Texas approach seriously — which is nowhere more true than in Washington DC and the Obama administration.