Utilities industry has highest union membership rate in private sector in 2017

February 23, 2018

The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 10.7 percent in 2017, the same as in 2016. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2017, edged up by 262,000 from 2016. The union membership rate of public-sector workers, 34.4 percent in 2017, continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.5 percent).

 

 

Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers by industry, 2000–17 annual averages
Year All industries Private sector Agriculture and
related industries
Mining, quarrying, and
oil and gas extraction
Construction Manufacturing Wholesale trade Retail trade Transportation and
warehousing

2000

13.4% 9.0% 2.6% 11.3% 17.5% 14.9% 5.3% 6.1% 25.7%

2001

13.3 8.9 2.8 11.5 16.9 14.7 5.6 6.0 25.0

2002

13.3 8.6 2.8 8.7 16.7 14.6 5.0 6.1 24.6

2003

12.9 8.2 1.6 9.1 16.0 13.5 5.1 6.4 25.8

2004

12.5 7.9 2.2 11.4 14.7 12.9 4.6 5.7 24.2

2005

12.5 7.8 2.7 8.0 13.1 13.0 5.9 5.2 23.4

2006

12.0 7.4 2.3 7.5 13.0 11.7 4.9 5.0 22.2

2007

12.1 7.5 1.5 9.3 13.9 11.3 5.2 5.3 20.9

2008

12.4 7.6 2.8 6.9 15.6 11.4 5.3 5.2 21.3

2009

12.3 7.2 1.1 8.6 14.5 10.9 4.9 5.3 21.3

2010

11.9 6.9 1.6 8.0 13.1 10.7 5.2 4.7 20.5

2011

11.8 6.9 1.4 7.2 14.0 10.5 4.4 4.9 20.4

2012

11.3 6.6 1.4 7.2 13.2 9.6 5.1 4.6 19.9

2013

11.3 6.7 1.0 5.4 14.1 10.1 5.0 4.6 19.6

2014

11.1 6.6 1.1 4.8 13.9 9.7 3.3 4.4 19.6

2015

11.1 6.7 1.2 5.4 13.2 9.4 3.8 4.8 18.9

2016

10.7 6.4 1.3 5.6 13.9 8.8 3.7 4.3 18.4

2017

10.7 6.5 2.1 4.4 14.0 9.1 4.5 4.5 17.3
Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers by industry, 2000–17 annual averages (continued)
Year Utilities Information Financial activities Professional and
business services
Education and
health services
Leisure and hospitality Other services Government

2000

27.2% 14.7% 1.6% 2.5% 7.9% 3.8% 3.5% 36.9%

2001

26.7 14.1 2.3 3.1 8.3 3.6 3.7 36.8

2002

25.4 14.6 2.0 2.7 8.5 3.0 3.7 37.3

2003

28.2 13.6 2.1 2.3 8.0 2.8 3.3 37.2

2004

28.4 14.2 2.0 2.3 8.3 3.1 2.8 36.4

2005

27.4 13.6 2.3 2.7 8.3 3.1 3.2 36.5

2006

28.2 12.0 1.9 2.4 8.3 3.1 3.1 36.2

2007

28.4 12.1 2.0 2.4 8.8 2.8 2.9 35.9

2008

26.9 12.7 1.8 2.1 9.1 3.2 3.1 36.8

2009

26.1 10.0 1.8 2.3 8.6 3.1 2.9 37.4

2010

28.3 9.6 2.0 2.7 8.1 2.7 2.9 36.2

2011

25.0 10.1 1.6 2.1 8.6 2.7 3.4 37.0

2012

24.7 9.7 1.9 2.4 8.1 2.7 2.5 35.9

2013

25.6 8.9 2.0 2.4 8.3 2.7 3.0 35.3

2014

22.3 8.6 2.0 2.3 8.2 3.2 2.9 35.7

2015

21.4 8.6 2.4 2.5 8.7 3.1 3.0 35.2

2016

21.5 9.0 2.3 2.4 8.2 3.0 2.6 34.4

2017

23.0 9.8 2.4 2.3 8.1 2.9 2.8 34.4

Private-sector industries with high union membership rates in 2017 include utilities (23.0 percent), transportation and warehousing (17.3 percent), and construction (14.0 percent). Industries with low union membership rates include agriculture (2.1 percent), professional and business services (2.3 percent), and financial activities (2.4 percent).

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, Utilities industry has highest union membership rate in private sector in 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/utilities-industry-has-highest-union-membership-rate-in-private-sector-in-2017.htm (visited November 14, 2018).

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