Forbes “Best States for Business” Index Shows Why New Hampshire Needs Right-to-Work

Last week Forbes released their annual “Best States for Business” index. Unfortunately, New Hampshire does not do as well as one would expect falling as only the 27th best state for business. There are six sub-indices in the index and the one that New Hampshire scores the worst on is “Regulatory Environment.” From their methodology table:

Regulatory environment includes metrics influenced by the government. We factor in an index from Pollina Corporate Real Estate that measures tax incentives and the economic development efforts of each state. Other metrics include the Tort Liability Index from Pacific Research Foundation, as well as the regulatory component of PRI’s U.S. Economic Freedom Index. Other factors include Moody’s bond rating on the state’s general obligation debt and the transportation infrastructure including air, highway and rail. We also gave credit to those states that are right-to-work states. [emphasis added]

So it’s no surprise that 16 of the 26 states ahead of New Hampshire are all right-to-work states. Therefore, enacting right-to-work would signficantly improves New Hampshire’s ranking in the Forbes “Best States for Business.”

The Case for Right-to-Work in New Hampshire: Examining the Evidence in Oklahoma

The New Hampshire Center for Economic Policy (NHCEP) has issued a new report that demonstrates the measurable effect adopting Right-to-Work (RTW) laws has on a state’s economy by examining the most recent state to free employees and employers from mandated union arrangements.

Oklahoma has experienced growth in the number of households, population and manufacturing GDP since the implementation of RTW in 2003.  Most of the in-migration of people and jobs has come at the expense of non-RTW states – proving that no matter what is happening in the national economy, there are positive steps available for individual states to strengthen their own economies and job growth.

NHCEP policy experts commented on their findings, in context of New Hampshire’s current opportunity to adopt Right-to-Work laws:

“During a time when people are concerned about America’s economy, it’s very exciting to be able to illustrate that there are things an individual state can do on its own behalf,” noted NHCEP president J. Scott Moody.  “Oklahoma is the most recent state to adopt Right-to-Work, and the Sooners are booming.”

Moody continued:“If New Hampshire would move in the same direction, and adopt Right-to-Work, I predict the results would be even more positive because we already have the advantages of the largest private sector in the country, as well as no sales or income taxes. Plus, the closest competing Right-to-Work state is Virginia – so why would any company in the Northeast move anywhere but New Hampshire?”

“The best part about choosing Right-to-Work now is that it’s a proven policy that will not cost the state treasury any short-term lost revenues,” adds Chief Economist Wendy Warcholik.”In fact, this policy will strengthen the state’s finances by helping New Hampshire companies become more competitive and add workers. It will also make New Hampshire even more attractive for new business start-ups and for established companies to relocate here.”

“Another way of looking at New Hampshire’s current situation regarding Right-to-Work is to see the Tenth Amendment in action,” concluded Mr. Moody.  “Individual states are free to experiment with policies within their own borders, with the luxury of seeing what works in other states and what doesn’t work.  We hope that New Hampshire’s leaders take this opportunity to review the positive results from Oklahoma’s decision on Right-to-Work and make it happen here too.”

To read the NHCEP report detailing Oklahoma’s experiences with Right-to-Work, please click this link: http://nheconomics.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/NHCEP-Liberty-in-Economics-Volume-1-Issue-4-Right-to-Work-110311.pdf

Mr. J. Scott Moody and Dr. Wendy Warcholik are available for press interviews, on-air appearances and in-person presentations of this research.  If you have any questions or would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Scott Moody via e-mail at scottmoody@nheconomics.org or by calling 603-277-0255.

New Hampshire’s Population Stalling and Aging

Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released their updated intercensal state population estimates by age and race. These new estimates account for the new population counts as determined by the 2010 population census. There are two items that I found of interest in the new data.

First, overall population in New Hampshire, as shown in the first chart below, has stalled out since 2008. Also shown in the first chart is the median age which is soaring. In 2000 the median age was 37.2 years but has increased by 11 percent to 41.1 years in 2010.

Second, the composition of New Hampshire’s population by age cohort, as shown in the second chart below, shows shrinking numbers of  young people and growing numbers of retired people.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people under the age of 18 dropped by 8 percent to 286,836 from 310,390. This is somewhat misleading since the drop is actually greater because the drop did not begin  until 2002 when the under 18 population peaked at 312,719.

At the same time, the number of people over the age of 65 increased by 20 percent to 178,625 from 148,468.

Overall, this is a very disturbing picture of New Hampshire’s demographics. Without strong in-migration from other states, New Hampshire’s future workforce will be smaller and older which will create formidable headwinds in the effort to generate sustainable economic growth.