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Monday, May 06, 2013
In 2012, union members accounted for 14.4 percent of wage and salary workers in Massachusetts and 14.0 percent in Connecticut compared to 14.6 and 16.8 percent, respectively, in 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that both states had union membership rates above the U.S. average of 11.3 percent in 2012. (See chart 1 and table A.) In fact, the union membership rates in these two states have always exceeded the national average throughout since the series began in 1989, the first year for which comparable state data are available.
Massachusetts had 417,000 union members in 2012 and Connecticut, 216,000. An additional 53,000 wage and salary workers in Massachusetts and 16,000 in Connecticut 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, 14.4 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2012 and 1.6 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 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 the January data.
In 2012, 19 states had union membership rates above the U.S. average, of which 9 had rates above 15 percent. (See table 1.) Of the 9 states with the highest rates, 3 were located in the Northeast, 1 in the Midwest, and the remaining 5 bordered the Pacific Ocean. (See chart 2.) New York had the highest rate (23.2 percent), followed by Alaska (22.4 percent), Hawaii (21.6 percent), and Washington (18.5 percent). In fact, New York has had the highest membership rate in the nation for 16 of the past 18 years.
Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the national average of 11.3 percent in 2012. Eight of these states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent, with North Carolina having the lowest, 2.9 percent. The next lowest rates were recorded in Arkansas (3.2 percent), South Carolina (3.3 percent), and Mississippi (4.3 percent).
About half of the 14.4 million union members in the United States lived in just seven states (California, 2.5 million; New York, 1.8 million; Illinois, 0.8 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 state wage and salary employment level and the union membership rate. For example, with a union membership rate of 5.7 percent, Texas had about one-third as many union members as New York, despite having 2.7 million more wage and salary employees. North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (112,000 and 116,000, respectively), though North Carolina’s wage and salary employment level (3.8 million) was nearly seven times that of Hawaii (537,000).
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 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 with data for earlier years because of the introduction of updated population controls used in the CPS. These updated controls have little or no effect on unemployment rates and other ratios, such as union membership rates. For technical documentation and related information, including reliability of the CPS estimates, see www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.
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 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.
|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, May 06, 2013