New York again had highest union membership rate, South Carolina the lowest, in 2017

January 25, 2018

The U.S. union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was unchanged at 10.7 percent in 2017. New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.8 percent), while South Carolina continued to have the lowest (2.6 percent).

 

 

Union membership rates in each state, 2017 annual averages
State Union membership rate Number of employed union members

Alabama

7.4% 138,000

Alaska

18.1 55,000

Arizona

4.0 111,000

Arkansas

5.1 62,000

California

15.5 2,491,000

Colorado

9.6 238,000

Connecticut

16.9 278,000

Delaware

10.7 45,000

District of Columbia

9.8 34,000

Florida

5.6 480,000

Georgia

4.0 173,000

Hawaii

21.3 129,000

Idaho

4.8 35,000

Illinois

15.0 827,000

Indiana

8.9 266,000

Iowa

7.0 104,000

Kansas

7.8 101,000

Kentucky

9.6 174,000

Louisiana

4.4 78,000

Maine

11.4 66,000

Maryland

10.8 299,000

Massachusetts

12.4 401,000

Michigan

15.6 658,000

Minnesota

15.2 411,000

Mississippi

5.3 59,000

Missouri

8.7 226,000

Montana

11.9 50,000

Nebraska

8.2 70,000

Nevada

12.7 164,000

New Hampshire

11.3 72,000

New Jersey

16.2 630,000

New Mexico

6.7 52,000

New York

23.8 2,017,000

North Carolina

3.4 145,000

North Dakota

5.1 18,000

Ohio

12.5 635,000

Oklahoma

5.5 84,000

Oregon

14.9 262,000

Pennsylvania

12.0 665,000

Rhode Island

16.1 78,000

South Carolina

2.6 52,000

South Dakota

5.4 20,000

Tennessee

5.7 155,000

Texas

4.7 543,000

Utah

3.9 54,000

Vermont

11.0 32,000

Virginia

4.6 176,000

Washington

18.8 584,000

West Virginia

11.0 75,000

Wisconsin

8.3 230,000

Wyoming

6.0 15,000

In 2017, 27 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the U.S. average, 10.7 percent, while 22 states had rates above it and 1 state had the same rate.

Nine states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2017, with South Carolina having the lowest rate (2.6 percent). The next lowest rates were in North Carolina (3.4 percent) and Utah (3.9 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2017: New York (23.8 percent) and Hawaii (21.3 percent).

State union membership levels reflect both the employment level and the union membership rate. The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.5 million) and New York (2.0 million). Over half of the 14.8 million union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.5 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Michigan and Pennsylvania, 0.7 million each; and New Jersey and Ohio, 0.6 million each). These states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see "Union Members — 2017" (HTML) (PDF). The numbers exclude all self-employed workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, New York again had highest union membership rate, South Carolina the lowest, in 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/new-york-again-had-highest-union-membership-rate-south-carolina-the-lowest-in-2017.htm (visited September 25, 2018).

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