Union membership rate 10.7 percent in 2016

February 09, 2017

The union membership rate—the percentage of wage and salary workers who are members of unions—was 10.7 percent in 2016, down 0.4 percentage point from 2015. In 1983, the first year for which comparable data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent.

Percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of unions, total and private sector, 1983–2016
Year Total, all wage and salary workers Private-sector workers

1983

20.1% 16.8%

1984

18.8 15.5

1985

18.0 14.6

1986

17.5 14.0

1987

17.0 13.4

1988

16.8 12.9

1989

16.4 12.4

1990

16.0 12.0

1991

16.0 11.8

1992

15.7 11.5

1993

15.7 11.2

1994

15.5 10.9

1995

14.9 10.4

1996

14.5 10.2

1997

14.1 9.8

1998

13.9 9.6

1999

13.9 9.5

2000

13.4 9.0

2001

13.3 8.9

2002

13.3 8.6

2003

12.9 8.2

2004

12.5 7.9

2005

12.5 7.8

2006

12.0 7.4

2007

12.1 7.5

2008

12.4 7.6

2009

12.3 7.2

2010

11.9 6.9

2011

11.8 6.9

2012

11.3 6.6

2013

11.3 6.7

2014

11.1 6.6

2015

11.1 6.7

2016

10.7 6.4

In 2016, the union membership rate for public-sector workers (34.4 percent) was more than 5 times greater than the rate for private-sector workers (6.4 percent). The union membership rate continued to be slightly higher for men (11.2 percent) than for women (10.2 percent) in 2016. Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2016 (13.0 percent) than workers who were White (10.5 percent), Asian (9.0 percent), or Hispanic (8.8 percent).

Percentage of wage and salary workers who were union members by selected characteristics, 2016
Characteristic Union membership rate

Public sector

34.4%

Private sector

6.4

Men

11.2

Women

10.2

Black

13.0

White

10.5

Asian

9.0

Hispanic

8.8

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see “Union Members — 2016” (HTML) (PDF). Union membership data do not include self-employed workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Union membership rate 10.7 percent in 2016 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/union-membership-rate-10-point-7-percent-in-2016.htm (visited May 25, 2017).

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