When Michigan officially became the nation's 24th right-to-work state in March, Gov. Rick Snyder, who pushed the deeply controversial law through the Legislature in December, hailed it as a boost for the state's economic recovery.
"I think it will bring jobs to Michigan," he said.
Right-to-work laws bar so-called "closed shops," where workers are required to join a union and pay union dues or pay equivalent fees as a condition of employment. Businesses say they like right-to-work laws because they make it more difficult for unions to organize workers and raise wage and benefit costs. Unions say the laws infringe on workers' collective bargaining rights.
With the Michigan law in effect for only a matter of months, it is still too early to tell whether it has made a difference. Michigan's unemployment rate—while far from its highs during the financial crisis—remained above the national average at 8.4 percent in May. Michigan has enjoyed a surge of manufacturing jobs, but that began following the auto bailout in 2009, when closed shops were still legal in the state.
(Read More: Top US States for New Manufacturing Jobs)
One immediate effect of the right-to-work law, however, was to improve Michigan's rank among America's Top States for Business. The Wolverine State moves to 29th place overall from 33rd last year. The improvement is led by a big jump in our Workforce category, which gives extra points to right-to-work states. We rank Michigan's workforce 15th this year, compared with 38th in 2012.
Right-to-work states dominate America's Top States for Business for 2013. In fact, Colorado is the only state among America's Top 10 states without a right-to-work law.