Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In 2013, union members accounted for 11.2 percent of wage and salary workers in Kentucky, compared with 10.0 percent in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that at its peak in 1989, the first year for which comparable state data was available, the union membership rate for the state was 14.8 percent. Kentucky’s union membership rate was at its lowest (8.6 percent) in both 2008 and 2009. Nationwide, union members accounted for 11.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2013, the same as in 2012. Kentucky’s rate has never exceeded the nationwide average in the history of the series.
Kentucky had 194,000 union members in 2013. An additional 32,000 wage and salary 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, 14.5 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 part-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, 20 states had union membership rates above the U.S. average, of which 9 had rates above 15 percent. (See table 1.) Of the nine states with the highest rates, four were located in the West, three in the Northeast, and the remaining two were in the Midwest. (See chart 2.) New York had the highest rate at 24.4 percent, followed by Alaska (23.1 percent) and Hawaii (22.1 percent). In fact, New York has had the highest union membership rate in the nation for 17 of the past 19 years.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the national average of 11.3 percent in 2013. Nine of these states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent with North Carolina having the lowest at 3.0 percent. The next lowest rate was recorded in Arkansas (3.5 percent), followed by Mississippi and South Carolina (each at 3.7 percent). Among the nine states with the lowest union membership rates, six were located in the South, two in the West, and one in the Midwest.
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 employment level and union membership rate. For example, Kentucky (1,735,000) and Louisiana (1,728,000) had comparable numbers of wage and salary employees in 2013 but Kentucky had over 100,000 more union members. Conversely, North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (117,000 and 121,000, respectively), though North Carolina's wage and salary employment (3.9 million) was more than seven times that of Hawaii (549,000). (See table 1.)
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 eligible 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: 800-877-8339.
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.
Represented by unions. Data refer to both union members and 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. Union membership and earnings data exclude all self-employed workers, both those with incorporated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses.
|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: Wednesday, February 26, 2014