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Monday, March 17, 2014
In 2013, union members accounted for 7.6 percent of wage and salary workers in Colorado, compared with 7.8 percent in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that Colorado’s union membership rate has been below the U.S. average every year since state data were first available in 1989. (See chart 1.) At its peak in 1990, the union membership rate for Colorado was 10.5 percent. Nationwide, union members accounted for 11.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2013, the same rate as in 2012.
In addition to Colorado’s 171,000 wage and salary workers who were union members in 2013, another 36,000 workers were represented by a union on their main job or were covered by an employee association or contract while not being union members themselves. (See table A.) Nationwide, 14.5 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2013 and 1.5 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 pat-time wage and salary workers. Excluded are all self-employed workers regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
In 2013, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 11.3 percent, while 20 states had higher rates. (See table 1.) Nine states had union membership rates above 15.0 percent. Of these states, three were located in the Northeast, four in the West, and two in the Midwest. (See chart 2.) New York had the highest rate (24.4 percent), followed by Alaska (23.1 percent) and Hawaii (22.1 percent).
Nine states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent, with North Carolina having the lowest, 3.0 percent. The next lowest rates were recorded in Arkansas (3.5 percent), Mississippi and South Carolina (3.7 percent each), and Utah (3.9 percent). Union membership rates declined over the year in 26 states (including Colorado), rose in 22 states and the District of Columbia, and were unchanged in 2 states.
Over half of the 14.5 million union members in the United States lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.9 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.
State union membership levels depend on both the union membership rate and the employment level. For example, North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (117,000 and 121,000, respectively), though North Carolina’s wage and salary employment level (3.9 million) was more than seven times that of Hawaii (549,000). Similarly, Colorado and Nevada had comparable numbers of union members (171,000 and 169,000, respectively), though Colorado’s wage and salary employment level (2,243,000) was almost twice that of Nevada (1,154,000).
The estimates in this release are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides the 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 households. The union membership and earnings 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.
Union membership data, particularly for levels, are not strictly comparable for earlier years because of the introduction of updated population controls used in the CPS. For technical documentation and related information, including reliability of the CPS estimates, see www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.
The principal definitions used in this release are described briefly below.
Union members. Members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
Represented by unions. Union members, as well as workers who have 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, but, for the purposes of the union membership and earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.
|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|
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: Monday, March 17, 2014