Ohio had lower per-capita disposable income than 12 of 22 workplace freedom states in 2011, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Although union bosses claim that allowing workers to opt out of union dues makes people poorer, a comparison of disposable incomes in Ohio, Ohio’s neighboring states, and workplace freedom states suggests otherwise.
BEA defines disposable personal income as total personal income minus personal current taxes. In 2011, Ohio and every state neighboring Ohio – Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania – allowed unions to make mandatory union dues a condition of employment.
Even without accounting for cost of living, disposable incomes in workplace freedom states Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Nebraska were higher than in Ohio or any of Ohio’s forced-unionism neighbors. Of the six forced-unionism states, Pennsylvania had the highest per-capita disposable income.
Ohio came in second among the forced-unionism states compared, but had lower per-capita disposable income than workplace freedom states Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in addition to the five workplace freedom states ahead of Pennsylvania. In all, 12 of 22 workplace freedom states had greater per-capita disposable incomes than Ohio in 2011.
Only four workplace freedom states had lower per-capita disposable incomes than forced-unionism Kentucky.
Only two workplace freedom states had lower per-capita disposable incomes than forced-unionism West Virginia.
As Media Trackers has reported, Ohio and neighboring states added jobs at much lower rates than most workplace freedom states between 1991 and 2011. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania created jobs at lower rates than all 22 workplace freedom states.
Without adjusting for cost of living, which is typically higher in forced-unionism states, 6 of 22 workplace freedom states had higher average wages than Ohio in 2011.
Between 2001 and 2011, 20 of 22 workplace freedom states had greater rates of wage growth than Ohio – and if 2001-2011 trends persist, 5 more workplace freedom states will leapfrog Ohio’s average wage by 2021.