Government, utilities, and transportation and warehousing had highest unionization rates in 2015

February 29, 2016

The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014. In 2015, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.6 million workers in the private sector. The union membership rate for public-sector workers (35.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private-sector workers (6.7 percent).

 

 

Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers, annual averages, 2000–15
Year Total private Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction Construction Manufacturing Wholesale trade Retail trade Transportation and warehousing Utilities Information

2000

9.0 2.6 11.3 17.5 14.9 5.3 6.1 25.7 27.2 14.7

2001

8.9 2.8 11.5 16.9 14.7 5.6 6.0 25.0 26.7 14.1

2002

8.6 2.8 8.7 16.7 14.6 5.0 6.1 24.6 25.4 14.6

2003

8.2 1.6 9.1 16.0 13.5 5.1 6.4 25.8 28.2 13.6

2004

7.9 2.2 11.4 14.7 12.9 4.6 5.7 24.2 28.4 14.2

2005

7.8 2.7 8.0 13.1 13.0 5.9 5.2 23.4 27.4 13.6

2006

7.4 2.3 7.5 13.0 11.7 4.9 5.0 22.2 28.2 12.0

2007

7.5 1.5 9.3 13.9 11.3 5.2 5.3 20.9 28.4 12.1

2008

7.6 2.8 6.9 15.6 11.4 5.3 5.2 21.3 26.9 12.7

2009

7.2 1.1 8.6 14.5 10.9 4.9 5.3 21.3 26.1 10.0

2010

6.9 1.6 8.0 13.1 10.7 5.2 4.7 20.5 28.3 9.6

2011

6.9 1.4 7.2 14.0 10.5 4.4 4.9 20.4 25.0 10.1

2012

6.6 1.4 7.2 13.2 9.6 5.1 4.6 19.9 24.7 9.7

2013

6.7 1.0 5.4 14.1 10.1 5.0 4.6 19.6 25.6 8.9

2014

6.6 1.1 4.8 13.9 9.7 3.3 4.4 19.6 22.3 8.6

2015

6.7 1.2 5.4 13.2 9.4 3.8 4.8 18.9 21.4 8.6

 

Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers, annual averages, 2000–15 (continued)
Year Financial activities Professional and business services Private educational services Health care and social assistance Leisure and hospitality Other services Government Federal government State government Local government

2000

1.6 2.5 11.5 7.1 3.8 3.5 36.9 31.5 29.7 42.4

2001

2.3 3.1 13.2 7.1 3.6 3.7 36.8 31.5 30.5 41.9

2002

2.0 2.7 13.7 7.3 3.0 3.7 37.3 32.2 31.0 42.3

2003

2.1 2.3 12.1 7.0 2.8 3.3 37.2 30.9 30.3 42.6

2004

2.0 2.3 13.0 7.2 3.1 2.8 36.4 29.9 30.7 41.3

2005

2.3 2.7 13.1 7.1 3.1 3.2 36.5 27.8 31.3 41.9

2006

1.9 2.4 13.5 7.0 3.1 3.1 36.2 28.4 30.2 41.9

2007

2.0 2.4 12.6 7.9 2.8 2.9 35.9 26.8 30.4 41.8

2008

1.8 2.1 13.8 8.0 3.2 3.1 36.8 28.1 31.6 42.2

2009

1.8 2.3 12.9 7.5 3.1 2.9 37.4 28.0 32.2 43.3

2010

2.0 2.7 13.0 6.9 2.7 2.9 36.2 26.8 31.1 42.3

2011

1.6 2.1 13.0 7.5 2.7 3.4 37.0 28.1 31.5 43.2

2012

1.9 2.4 12.4 7.0 2.7 2.5 35.9 26.9 31.3 41.7

2013

2.0 2.4 12.9 7.2 2.7 3.0 35.3 26.5 30.9 40.8

2014

2.0 2.3 11.7 7.3 3.2 2.9 35.7 27.5 29.8 41.9

2015

2.4 2.5 13.7 7.3 3.1 3.0 35.2 27.3 30.2 41.3

Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government (41.3 percent), which includes employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

In the private sector, industries with high unionization rates included utilities (21.4 percent), transportation and warehousing (18.9 percent), educational services (13.7 percent), and construction (13.2 percent).

Low unionization rates occurred in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (1.2 percent), financial activities (2.4 percent), and professional and business services (2.5 percent).

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see "Union Members — 2015" (HTML) (PDF). The numbers exclude all self-employed workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Government, utilities, and transportation and warehousing had highest unionization rates in 2015 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/government-utilities-and-transportation-and-warehousing-had-highest-unionization-rates-in-2015.htm (visited December 08, 2016).

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