UNION MEMBERS — 2020
News Release from US BLS, January 22, 2021
In 2020, the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.8 percent, up by 0.5 percentage point from 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.3 million in 2020, was down by 321,000, or 2.2 percent, from 2019. However, the decline in total wage and salary employment was 9.6 million (mostly among nonunion workers), or 6.7 percent. The disproportionately large decline in total wage and salary employment compared with the decline in the number of union members led to an increase in the union membership rate. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.
Union membership data are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over. For more information, see the Technical Note in this news release.
Highlights from the 2020 data:
• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (34.8 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.3 percent). (See table 3.)
• The highest unionization rates were among workers in protective service occupations (36.6 percent) and in education, training, and library occupations (35.9 percent). (See table 3.)
• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.0 percent) than women (10.5 percent). (See table 1.)
• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 84 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($958 versus $1,144). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)
• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (23.7 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (2.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively). (See table 5.) …
Union Membership by State
In 2020, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.8 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and the map.)
Nine states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2020. South Carolina had the lowest rate (2.9 percent). The next lowest rates were in North Carolina and Utah (3.1 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2020: Hawaii (23.7 percent) and New York (22.0 percent).
Over half of the 14.3 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 1.7 million; Illinois and Pennsylvania, 0.7 million each; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each). However, these states accounted for about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally….
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SA: Hawaii tops U.S. in 2020 union membership
2019: Hawaii Most Unionized State
2018: Hawaii 2nd Most Unionized State