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News Release Information

22-287-CHI
Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (312) 353-1138

Union Members in Illinois — 2021

In 2021, union members accounted for 13.9 percent of wage and salary workers in Illinois, compared with 14.3 percent in 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Jason Palmer noted that the union membership rate for the state was at its peak in 1993, when it averaged 21.0 percent, and at its low point in 2019 at 13.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Nationwide, union members accounted for 10.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2021. The rate was down from 10.8 percent in 2020 when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate for the nation was the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. Since 1989, when state data became available, union membership rates in Illinois have been above the U.S. average.


Illinois had 752,000 union members in 2021. In addition to these members, another 66,000 wage and salary workers in Illinois were represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves.

Nationwide, 14.0 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2021 and 1.8 million wage and salary workers were not affiliated with a union but had jobs covered by a union contract. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions (14.0 million) was down by 241,000 from 2020.

Table A. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers in Illinois, annual averages, 2011–2021 (numbers in thousands)
Year Total employed Members of unions (1) Represented by unions (2)
Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed

2011

5,408 876 16.2 929 17.2

2012

5,486 801 14.6 852 15.5

2013

5,397 851 15.8 882 16.3

2014

5,500 831 15.1 880 16.0

2015

5,566 847 15.2 892 16.0

2016

5,587 812 14.5 856 15.3

2017

5,516 827 15.0 872 15.8

2018

5,694 786 13.8 839 14.7

2019

5,658 771 13.6 832 14.7

2020

5,178 739 14.3 788 15.2

2021

5,397 752 13.9 818 15.2

Footnotes:
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) 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.

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 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. (See table 1.) Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent). (See chart 2.)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate for the nation due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the national rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and-response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.


Technical Note

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 www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

Information about the reliability of data from the CPS and guidance on estimating standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Definitions

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 individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2020-2021 annual averages (numbers in thousands)
State 2020 2021
Total
employed
Members of unions(1) Represented by
unions(2)
Total
employed
Members of unions(1) Represented by
unions(2)
Total Percent
of
employed
Total Percent
of
employed
Total Percent
of
employed
Total Percent
of
employed

Alabama

1,896 151 8.0 164 8.7 1,938 115 5.9 133 6.9

Alaska

280 49 17.7 55 19.5 293 46 15.8 50 17.2

Arizona

2,909 155 5.3 207 7.1 3,116 167 5.4 208 6.7

Arkansas

1,158 55 4.7 69 5.9 1,167 46 3.9 51 4.4

California

15,069 2,441 16.2 2,655 17.6 15,497 2,468 15.9 2,757 17.8

Colorado

2,470 182 7.4 202 8.2 2,538 165 6.5 192 7.5

Connecticut

1,533 262 17.1 282 18.4 1,524 223 14.6 248 16.3

Delaware

424 41 9.7 44 10.3 435 42 9.7 44 10.2

District of Columbia

343 30 8.6 33 9.5 350 31 8.9 35 9.9

Florida

8,155 524 6.4 644 7.9 8,667 448 5.2 529 6.1

Georgia

4,173 194 4.6 271 6.5 4,404 211 4.8 256 5.8

Hawaii

508 120 23.7 130 25.7 541 121 22.4 131 24.1

Idaho

732 41 5.6 47 6.4 767 36 4.7 42 5.5

Illinois

5,178 739 14.3 788 15.2 5,397 752 13.9 818 15.2

Indiana

2,838 235 8.3 270 9.5 2,844 256 9.0 290 10.2

Iowa

1,401 93 6.6 128 9.1 1,428 93 6.5 118 8.3

Kansas

1,282 114 8.9 144 11.2 1,300 120 9.2 148 11.4

Kentucky

1,694 127 7.5 160 9.4 1,740 126 7.2 170 9.8

Louisiana

1,682 99 5.9 113 6.7 1,722 81 4.7 98 5.7

Maine

559 82 14.7 93 16.7 563 70 12.4 83 14.7

Maryland

2,690 351 13.1 380 14.1 2,689 295 11.0 332 12.3

Massachusetts

2,982 357 12.0 383 12.8 3,181 402 12.6 433 13.6

Michigan

3,974 604 15.2 661 16.6 4,047 540 13.3 620 15.3

Minnesota

2,515 398 15.8 427 17.0 2,608 416 16.0 446 17.1

Mississippi

1,034 74 7.1 86 8.3 1,080 59 5.5 74 6.9

Missouri

2,525 238 9.4 254 10.1 2,615 235 9.0 266 10.2

Montana

419 50 12.0 54 13.0 438 49 11.2 56 12.9

Nebraska

890 85 9.6 94 10.5 896 61 6.8 72 8.0

Nevada

1,208 161 13.4 186 15.4 1,249 153 12.2 176 14.1

New Hampshire

629 62 9.8 70 11.1 643 65 10.1 73 11.3

New Jersey

3,719 600 16.1 660 17.8 3,762 608 16.2 672 17.9

New Mexico

743 53 7.1 64 8.6 770 58 7.5 70 9.1

New York

7,552 1,661 22.0 1,784 23.6 7,770 1,729 22.2 1,869 24.1

North Carolina

4,128 129 3.1 161 3.9 4,225 108 2.6 142 3.4

North Dakota

338 21 6.2 25 7.4 349 19 5.4 24 6.9

Ohio

4,815 637 13.2 686 14.2 4,966 596 12.0 647 13.0

Oklahoma

1,501 90 6.0 114 7.6 1,546 87 5.6 105 6.8

Oregon

1,694 275 16.2 293 17.3 1,784 318 17.8 336 18.8

Pennsylvania

5,307 717 13.5 775 14.6 5,380 693 12.9 732 13.6

Rhode Island

455 81 17.8 87 19.1 474 75 15.7 83 17.4

South Carolina

2,036 59 2.9 77 3.8 2,070 34 1.7 42 2.0

South Dakota

385 17 4.3 21 5.5 393 16 4.0 20 5.0

Tennessee

2,678 117 4.4 137 5.1 2,820 145 5.2 166 5.9

Texas

11,607 563 4.9 693 6.0 12,057 454 3.8 571 4.7

Utah

1,403 51 3.7 75 5.4 1,465 51 3.5 96 6.5

Vermont

265 31 11.8 36 13.8 262 32 12.3 37 14.2

Virginia

3,703 164 4.4 201 5.4 3,685 176 4.8 240 6.5

Washington

3,201 557 17.4 596 18.6 3,308 629 19.0 661 20.0

West Virginia

666 71 10.7 75 11.3 693 66 9.6 73 10.5

Wisconsin

2,592 227 8.7 264 10.2 2,705 215 7.9 251 9.3

Wyoming

240 18 7.6 22 9.3 234 13 5.7 16 6.9

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) 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.

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: Tuesday, March 15, 2022