On the heels of Gov. Rick Snyder signing legislation making Michigan the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state in the country, Forbes reports its seventh annual ranking of the Best States for Business indicates the state is on the right track.
All but one (Colorado) of the top 10 states in Forbes’ ranking have right-to-work laws on the books. Of the bottom 10 states, No. 46 Mississippi is the only right-to-work state.
Michigan is No. 47 in the ranking, which is based on six factors: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.
Thousands of angry union members descended on the Capitol in Lansing earlier this week to protest new limits on the financing of organized labor – a stunning reversal for the home of the United Auto Workers. Critics of right-to-work laws argue they lower wages and weaken unions, while proponents say they attract businesses.
Michigan suffered the worst economic contraction in the nation over the past five years, as well as the largest net population loss, Forbes says.
Snyder makes his case for “Reinventing Michigan” in an op-ed for Forbes. He writes: “Michigan businesses will realize greater efficiency and higher potential profits while partnering with a world-class workforce that will be free to decide whether union membership is right for them.”
Utah heads Forbes’ list for a third straight year. Its economy has expanded 2.3 percent annually since 2006 – fifth best in the U.S – versus 0.5 percent for the nation as a whole. “We have a very fertile environment for entrepreneurs and business,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.
The biggest gainer was Indiana, whose adoption of legislation that bars requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment was a catalyst for Snyder calling for similar action in Michigan. Indiana’s job outlook has also improved dramatically, Forbes says. A year ago, its five-year employment outlook was the worst in the U.S., but now it ranks in the top half of states, according to Moody’s Analytics.