Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports Lower Union Membership Rate for 2014

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor reported that in 2014 the union membership rate —the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 11.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from 2013. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was little different from 2013. 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 households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation's civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. 

The survey also found that public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.7 percent), more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.6 percent).   The fields that had the highest unionization rates were workers in education, training, and library occupations and in protective service occupations at 35.3 percent for each occupation group.  The lowest unionization rates were in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (2.5 percent) and sales and related occupations (3.1 percent).  Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (24.6 percent), and North Carolina again had the lowest rate (1.9 percent). 

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