UNION MEMBERS – 2016
News Release from BLS, January 26, 2017
The union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions--was 10.7 percent in 2016, down 0.4 percentage point from 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million in 2016, declined by 240,000 from 2015. 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.
The data on union membership 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 ages 16 and over. For more information, see the Technical Note in this news release.
Highlights from the 2016 data:
--Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (34.4 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent). (See table 3.)
--Workers in education, training, and library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rates (34.6 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively). (See table 3.)
--Men continued to have a slightly higher union membership rate (11.2 percent) than women (10.2 percent). (See table 1.)
--Black workers were more likely to be union members than were White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
--Median weekly earnings of nonunion workers ($802) were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($1,004). (The comparisons of earnings in this 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, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.6 percent), (Hawaii and Alaska are tied for second at 21.7 percent each) while South Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.6 percent). (See table 5.)
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