Union Membership Numbers Rose in 2017

The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual Union Members Survey today, and it indicates that union membership grew in 2017.

The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2017, edged up by 262,000 from 2016.

One of the more interesting aspects of that growth is that young workers under 35 are a significant part of it – representing three quarters of those new members.

Other highlights from the 2017 data:

  • The union membership rate of public-sector workers (34.4 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.5 percent).
  • Workers in protective service occupations and in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rates (34.7 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively).
  • Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.4 percent) than women (10.0 percent).
  • Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers.
  • Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($829 versus $1,041). (The comparisons of earnings in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences).
  • Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.8 percent), while South Carolina continued to have the lowest (2.6 percent).

See the full details of the report HERE.