Union membership rate 11.3 percent in 2013, the same as in 2012

January 28, 2014

The union membership rate—the percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 11.3 percent in 2013, the same as in 2012. Public-sector workers had a union membership rate of 35.3 percent in 2013. That was more than five times higher than the rate for private-sector workers, 6.7 percent.

Percent of employed wage and salary workers who are members of unions, annual averages, 2000–2013

 

Percent of employed wage and salary workers who are members of unions, annual averages, 2000–2013
YearTotalPrivate sectorPublic sector

2000

13.49.036.9

2001

13.38.936.8

2002

13.38.637.3

2003

12.98.237.2

2004

12.57.936.4

2005

12.57.836.5

2006

12.07.436.2

2007

12.17.535.9

2008

12.47.636.8

2009

12.37.237.4

2010

11.96.936.2

2011

11.86.937.0

2012

11.36.635.9

2013

11.36.735.3

 

Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest in 2013 for local government workers, 40.8 percent. Local government includes employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The union membership rate in 2013 was 30.9 percent among state government workers and 26.5 percent among federal government workers.

In the private sector, industries with high unionization rates include utilities (25.6 percent), transportation and warehousing (19.6 percent), and construction (14.1 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in agriculture and related industries (1.0 percent), financial activities (2.0 percent), professional and business services (2.4 percent), and leisure and hospitality (2.7 percent).

 

Percent of employed wage and salary workers who are members of unions, by industry, 2013 annual averages

 

Percent of employed wage and salary workers who are members of unions, by industry, 2013 annual averages
IndustryPercent

Local government

40.8

State government

30.9

Federal government

26.5

Utilities

25.6

Transportation and warehousing

19.6

Construction

14.1

Educational services

12.9

Manufacturing

10.1

Information

8.9

Health care and social assistance

7.2

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

5.4

Wholesale trade

5.0

Retail trade

4.6

Other services

3.0

Leisure and hospitality

2.7

Professional and business services

2.4

Financial activities

2.0

Agriculture and related industries

1.0

 

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Union Members — 2013" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL‑14‑0095. Historical data on union membership are available through an online table tool.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Union membership rate 11.3 percent in 2013, the same as in 2012 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140128.htm (visited October 22, 2014).

OF INTEREST

Three recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics