The State of Kentucky went “Right to Work” at the start of 2017. This is a move that we have long advocated for New Mexico. Results are now coming available. According to this article, “Shattering its previous investment record, Kentucky announced $9.2 billion in corporate expansion and new-location projects in 2017, bringing commitments to create more than 17,200 jobs, the most since 2000.”
Furthermore, according to the aforementioned article, “Kentucky’s previous investment record stood at $5.1 billion, set in 2015.” In other words, in 2017 newly-Right to Work Kentucky nearly doubled in a single year.
The top-five projects by investment are Amazon Prime Air in Hebron at $1.49 billion, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s Reborn project at $1.33 billion, Braidy Industries in Boyd County with $1.3 billion, Ford Motor Co. at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville with $900 million and the EnerBlue Inc. manufacturing facility in Pikeville at $372 million.
The top-five job-creating projects of the year are Amazon Prime Air in Hebron with 2,700 full- and part-time jobs; Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky’s Reborn project with 1,209 positions; Diversified Consultants Inc. in Louisville with 1,000 jobs; the EnerBlue Inc. battery manufacturing facility in Pikeville with 875 jobs; Braidy Industries in Boyd County with 550 positions; and New Flyer in Shepherdsville with 550 jobs.
Did the strong national economy contribute? Sure. Did other pro-business policies enacted in Kentucky assist in this growth? I bet. Could New Mexico see similar results if it were to adopt “Right to Work?” It seems quite likely.
Interestingly, Kentucky saw a modest drop in unemployment from January 2017 to November of 2017 from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent, but the Bluegrass State also saw an increase in workforce participation from 55.5 percent to 56.4 percent, a healthy rise.