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Thursday, February 01, 2018
In 2017, union members accounted for 12.0 percent of wage and salary workers in Pennsylvania, compared with 12.1 percent in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the union membership rate for the state was at its peak in 1989, when it averaged 20.9 percent, and at its lowest point in 2017. (See chart 1 and table A.) Nationwide, union members accounted for 10.7 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2017, unchanged from 2016. Since 1989 when comparable state data became available, the state’s union membership rate has remained above the U.S. average.
Pennsylvania had 665,000 union members in 2017. In addition to these members, another 58,000 workers were represented by a union on their main job or were covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves. (See table A.) Nationwide, 14.8 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2017 and 1.6 million wage and salary workers were not affiliated with a union but had jobs covered by a union contract.
|Year||Total employed||Members of unions(1)||Represented by unions(2)|
|Total||Percent of employed||Total||Percent of employed|
NOTE: Data refer to the sole or principal job of full- and part-time wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers are excluded, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
In 2017, 27 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.7 percent, while 22 states had rates above it and 1 state had the same rate. (See table 1.) 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). (See chart 2.)
Nationwide, union membership rates increased over the year in 25 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 21 states, and were unchanged in 4 states.
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), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.
The estimates in this release are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides basic information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. The survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau from a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 eligible households. The union membership data are tabulated from one-quarter of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers are excluded.
Beginning in January of each year, data reflect revised population controls used in the CPS. Additional information about population controls is available on the BLS website at https://www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.
Information about the reliability of data from the the CPS and guidance on estimating standard errors is available at https://www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.
The principal definitions used in this release are described briefly below.
Union members. Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
Union membership rate. Data refer to the proportion of total wage and salary workers who are union members.
Represented by unions. Data refer to both union members and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract.
Wage and salary workers. Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors. Union membership and earnings data exclude all self-employed workers, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses.
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339.
|Members of unions(1)||Represented by|
|Members of unions(1)||Represented by|
District of Columbia
Note: Data refer to the sole or principal job of full- and part-time wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers are excluded, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
Last Modified Date: Thursday, February 01, 2018