Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

A look at union membership rates across industries in 2020

February 25, 2021

The union membership rate (the percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of unions) was 10.8 percent in 2020, up from 10.3 percent in 2019. In 2020, the union membership rate in the public sector increased by 1.2 percentage points to 34.8 percent, while the rate in the private sector increased by 0.1 percentage point to 6.3 percent.

The union membership rate increased even though the number of union members decreased (−321,000, or −2.2 percent) because there was a disproportionately large decrease in the total number of wage and salary workers (−6.7 percent).

Union membership rates by industry, 2000–20

Union membership rates by industry, 2000–20
Year Total, all industries Private sector Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction Construction Manufacturing Durable goods Nondurable goods Wholesale and retail trade Wholesale trade Retail trade

2000

13.4% 9.0% 11.3% 17.5% 14.9% 15.2% 14.5% 5.9% 5.3% 6.1%

2001

13.3 8.9 11.5 16.9 14.7 15.1 14.1 6.0 5.6 6.0

2002

13.3 8.6 8.7 16.7 14.6 15.6 13.1 5.9 5.0 6.1

2003

12.9 8.2 9.1 16.0 13.5 14.0 12.5 6.2 5.1 6.4

2004

12.5 7.9 11.4 14.7 12.9 13.3 12.3 5.5 4.6 5.7

2005

12.5 7.8 8.0 13.1 13.0 13.3 12.5 5.4 5.9 5.2

2006

12.0 7.4 7.5 13.0 11.7 11.8 11.4 5.0 4.9 5.0

2007

12.1 7.5 9.3 13.9 11.3 11.3 11.3 5.2 5.2 5.3

2008

12.4 7.6 6.9 15.6 11.4 11.7 10.8 5.2 5.3 5.2

2009

12.3 7.2 8.6 14.5 10.9 10.8 11.2 5.3 4.9 5.3

2010

11.9 6.9 8.0 13.1 10.7 10.1 11.7 4.8 5.2 4.7

2011

11.8 6.9 7.2 14.0 10.5 10.2 10.9 4.8 4.4 4.9

2012

11.3 6.6 7.2 13.2 9.6 9.4 9.8 4.7 5.1 4.6

2013

11.3 6.7 5.4 14.1 10.1 9.9 10.4 4.7 5.0 4.6

2014

11.1 6.6 4.8 13.9 9.7 9.6 10.0 4.2 3.3 4.4

2015

11.1 6.7 5.4 13.2 9.4 9.4 9.4 4.6 3.8 4.8

2016

10.7 6.4 5.6 13.9 8.8 8.9 8.4 4.2 3.7 4.3

2017

10.7 6.5 4.4 14.0 9.1 9.1 9.0 4.5 4.5 4.5

2018

10.5 6.4 4.7 12.8 9.0 9.0 9.0 4.3 4.1 4.3

2019

10.3 6.2 4.0 12.6 8.6 8.8 8.2 4.1 4.5 4.0

2020

10.8 6.3 5.6 12.7 8.5 8.7 8.2 4.5 4.3 4.6
Union membership rates by industry, 2000–20 (continued)
Year Transportation and utilities Transportation and warehousing Utilities Information Publishing, except Internet Motion pictures and sound recording industries Radio and television broadcasting and cable subscription programming Telecommunications

2000

26.0% 25.7% 27.2% 14.7% 8.0% 17.1% 8.8% 23.8%

2001

25.3 25.0 26.7 14.1 6.9 12.2 7.2 23.7

2002

24.7 24.6 25.4 14.6 9.0 14.3 7.6 23.1

2003

26.2 25.8 28.2 13.6 7.4 12.0 9.2 21.0

2004

24.9 24.2 28.4 14.2 6.7 15.7 9.3 22.4

2005

24.0 23.4 27.4 13.6 8.8 15.0 8.6 21.4

2006

23.2 22.2 28.2 12.0 7.0 10.3 5.9 20.7

2007

22.1 20.9 28.4 12.1 7.3 11.5 8.7 19.7

2008

22.2 21.3 26.9 12.7 7.2 11.4 9.5 19.3

2009

22.2 21.3 26.1 10.0 5.3 12.8 4.7 16.0

2010

21.8 20.5 28.3 9.6 5.0 9.3 5.1 15.8

2011

21.1 20.4 25.0 10.1 4.5 13.8 5.9 15.6

2012

20.6 19.9 24.7 9.7 3.7 11.4 6.7 15.6

2013

20.6 19.6 25.6 8.9 4.7 9.5 5.5 14.4

2014

20.1 19.6 22.3 8.6 3.6 7.3 7.0 14.8

2015

19.3 18.9 21.4 8.6 3.9 11.7 6.7 13.3

2016

18.9 18.4 21.5 9.0 4.9 11.0 5.9 14.6

2017

18.3 17.3 23.0 9.8 3.6 11.4 7.8 16.1

2018

17.3 16.7 20.1 9.6 3.9 12.5 7.7 15.4

2019

17.3 16.1 23.4 10.3 3.3 13.6 11.0 14.1

2020

17.6 17.0 20.6 9.3 2.4 14.0 7.6 14.3
Union membership rates by industry, 2000–20 (continued)
Year Financial activities Finance and insurance Finance Insurance Real estate and rental and leasing Professional and business services Professional and technical services Management, administrative, and waste services Education and health services Educational services

2000

1.6% 1.1% 0.8% 1.6% 3.3% 2.5% 1.1% 4.7% 7.9% 11.5%

2001

2.3 1.6 1.5 1.8 4.3 3.1 1.8 5.1 8.3 13.2

2002

2.0 1.5 1.3 1.8 3.5 2.7 1.5 4.4 8.5 13.7

2003

2.1 1.6 1.5 1.6 3.7 2.3 1.4 3.5 8.0 12.1

2004

2.0 1.5 1.4 1.8 3.5 2.3 1.1 3.9 8.3 13.0

2005

2.3 1.6 1.4 2.0 4.0 2.7 1.5 4.3 8.3 13.1

2006

1.9 1.4 1.2 1.8 3.3 2.4 1.4 3.8 8.3 13.5

2007

2.0 1.5 1.3 2.0 3.2 2.4 1.4 3.8 8.8 12.6

2008

1.8 1.3 1.0 1.9 3.3 2.1 1.3 3.4 9.1 13.8

2009

1.8 1.4 1.4 1.5 3.0 2.3 1.1 4.0 8.6 12.9

2010

2.0 1.3 1.1 1.6 4.1 2.7 1.4 4.6 8.1 13.0

2011

1.6 1.1 1.0 1.2 3.4 2.1 1.2 3.3 8.6 13.0

2012

1.9 1.2 1.1 1.3 4.1 2.4 1.2 4.3 8.1 12.4

2013

2.0 1.3 1.0 2.0 4.0 2.4 1.5 3.6 8.3 12.9

2014

2.0 1.4 1.3 1.6 3.7 2.3 1.4 3.8 8.2 11.7

2015

2.4 1.6 1.3 2.1 4.7 2.5 1.7 3.8 8.7 13.7

2016

2.3 1.4 1.2 1.7 4.9 2.4 1.6 3.7 8.2 12.3

2017

2.4 1.5 1.1 2.1 5.0 2.3 1.7 3.2 8.1 11.4

2018

2.1 1.5 1.3 1.7 3.9 2.6 1.5 4.4 8.1 13.1

2019

1.9 1.2 1.1 1.4 4.0 2.2 1.4 3.6 8.0 12.3

2020

1.9 1.4 1.2 1.7 3.5 2.2 1.3 4.0 8.4 13.5
Union membership rates by industry, 2000–20 (continued)
Year Health care and social assistance Leisure and hospitality Arts, entertainment, and recreation Accommodation and food services Accommodation Food services and drinking places Other services Public sector Federal government State government Local government

2000

7.1% 3.8% 6.9% 3.2% 10.3% 1.6% 3.5% 36.9% 31.5% 29.7% 42.4%

2001

7.1 3.6 6.4 3.0 8.9 1.7 3.7 36.8 31.5 30.5 41.9

2002

7.3 3.0 6.4 2.3 7.6 1.2 3.7 37.3 32.2 31.0 42.3

2003

7.0 2.8 5.4 2.2 8.3 1.0 3.3 37.2 30.9 30.3 42.6

2004

7.2 3.1 6.4 2.4 8.2 1.2 2.8 36.4 29.9 30.7 41.3

2005

7.1 3.1 6.3 2.4 8.3 1.3 3.2 36.5 27.8 31.3 41.9

2006

7.0 3.1 6.3 2.4 9.2 1.1 3.1 36.2 28.4 30.2 41.9

2007

7.9 2.8 6.2 2.0 7.7 0.9 2.9 35.9 26.8 30.4 41.8

2008

8.0 3.2 6.4 2.5 7.9 1.5 3.1 36.8 28.1 31.6 42.2

2009

7.5 3.1 6.4 2.3 7.8 1.3 2.9 37.4 28.0 32.2 43.3

2010

6.9 2.7 5.3 2.1 7.9 1.1 2.9 36.2 26.8 31.1 42.3

2011

7.5 2.7 5.3 2.1 7.1 1.2 3.4 37.0 28.1 31.5 43.2

2012

7.0 2.7 6.4 1.9 6.5 1.2 2.5 35.9 26.9 31.3 41.7

2013

7.2 2.7 5.2 2.1 7.0 1.3 3.0 35.3 26.5 30.9 40.8

2014

7.3 3.2 6.5 2.5 8.9 1.4 2.9 35.7 27.5 29.8 41.9

2015

7.3 3.1 6.4 2.4 7.4 1.5 3.0 35.2 27.3 30.2 41.3

2016

7.1 3.0 5.4 2.5 7.6 1.6 2.6 34.4 27.4 29.6 40.3

2017

7.2 2.9 5.9 2.2 7.3 1.4 2.8 34.4 26.6 30.3 40.1

2018

6.7 2.9 5.7 2.3 8.3 1.3 2.6 33.9 26.4 28.6 40.3

2019

6.8 2.9 6.6 2.1 6.5 1.4 2.8 33.6 25.6 29.4 39.4

2020

7.1 2.2 4.8 1.6 5.7 1.2 2.5 34.8 26.0 29.9 41.7

Among the private-sector industries, union membership rates were highest in transportation and utilities (17.6 percent), construction (12.7 percent), and information (9.3 percent). Union membership rates were lowest in financial activities (1.9 percent), leisure and hospitality (2.2 percent), and professional and business services (2.2 percent).

In the leisure and hospitality industry, the union membership rate was 1.2 percent in food services and drinking places; 4.8 percent in arts, entertainment, and recreation; and 5.7 percent in accommodation.

Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest in local government (41.7 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see “Union Members — 2020.” The union membership rate is calculated by dividing the number of union members by the number of wage and salary workers. Union membership data do not include self-employed workers. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at union membership rates across industries in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/a-look-at-union-membership-rates-across-industries-in-2020.htm (visited December 06, 2021).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

triangle