Union membership edges up, but share continues to fall
January 28, 1999
The number of union members rose for the first time in five years, increasing from 16.1 million in 1997 to 16.2 million in 1998. Despite the rise in the number of members, the share of workers who were union members declined from 14.1 percent in 1997 to 13.9 percent in 1998.
In 1998, about 9.3 million private industry workers were members of unions, little changed from 1997. In contrast, the number of government workers who were union members rose from more than 6.7 million to about 6.9 million. The increase in the number of public-sector union members occurred in both federal and local governments; state government union membership edged down.
The share of government workers who were union members rose over the year, while the private industry share fell. Government workers thus continue to have a much higher unionization rate than their private sector counterparts. Local government workers were the most likely to be unionized.
These data are a product of the Current Population Survey. More information can be found in news release USDL 99-21, "Union Members in 1998." Comparable union membership data have been reported by BLS since 1983.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Union membership edges up, but share continues to fall on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jan/wk4/art04.htm (visited December 08, 2016).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.