Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

22-271-ATL
Friday, February 18, 2022

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (404) 893-4220

Union Members in Kentucky — 2021

In 2021, union members accounted for 7.2 percent of wage and salary workers in Kentucky, compared with 7.5 percent in 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that the union membership rate for the state was at its peak in 1989, when it averaged 14.8 percent, and at its low point in 2021 at 7.2 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Nationwide, union members accounted for 10.3 percent of employed wage and salary workers in 2021. The rate was down from 10.8 percent in 2020 when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate for the nation was the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. Since 1989, when state data became available, union membership rates in Kentucky have been below the U.S. average apart from one year.


Kentucky had 126,000 union members in 2021. In addition to these members, another 44,000 wage and salary workers in Kentucky were represented by a union on their main job or covered by an employee association or contract while not union members themselves.

Nationwide, 14.0 million wage and salary workers were union members in 2021 and 1.8 million wage and salary workers were not affiliated with a union but had jobs covered by a union contract. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions (14.0 million) was down by 241,000 from 2020.

Table A. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers in Kentucky, annual averages, 2011–2021 (numbers in thousands)
Year Total employed Members of unions (1) Represented by unions (2)
Total Percent of employed Total Percent of employed

2011

1,678 150 8.9 173 10.3

2012

1,742 174 10.0 198 11.4

2013

1,735 194 11.2 226 13.0

2014

1,714 189 11.0 219 12.8

2015

1,705 187 11.0 207 12.1

2016

1,710 190 11.1 228 13.4

2017

1,810 174 9.6 232 12.8

2018

1,812 161 8.9 207 11.4

2019

1,786 144 8.0 169 9.5

2020

1,694 127 7.5 160 9.4

2021

1,740 126 7.2 170 9.8

Footnotes:
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) 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.

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.

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. (See table 1.) Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent). (See chart 2.)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Data on union members for 2020 reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. Comparisons with union membership measures for earlier years, including metrics such as the union membership rate should be interpreted with caution. The overall union membership rate and the rates by many demographic and employment characteristics increased despite declines in the number of union members. These increases reflect the disproportionately large decline in total wage and salary employment (mostly among nonunion workers) compared with the decline in the number of union members. Increases in median weekly earnings reflect the disproportionately large decline in employment in 2020, notably among lower-paid workers, such as those in the leisure and hospitality industry. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and-response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm


Technical Note

The estimates in this release are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides 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 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.

Beginning in January of each year, data reflect revised population controls used in the CPS. Additional information about population controls is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

Information about the reliability of data from the CPS and guidance on estimating standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Definitions

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.

Union membership rate. Data refer to the proportion of total wage and salary workers who are union members.

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.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

 Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2020–2021 annual averages (numbers in thousands)
State 2020 2021
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

Alabama

1,896 151 8.0 164 8.7 1,938 115 5.9 133 6.9

Alaska

280 49 17.7 55 19.5 293 46 15.8 50 17.2

Arizona

2,909 155 5.3 207 7.1 3,116 167 5.4 208 6.7

Arkansas

1,158 55 4.7 69 5.9 1,167 46 3.9 51 4.4

California

15,069 2,441 16.2 2,655 17.6 15,497 2,468 15.9 2,757 17.8

Colorado

2,470 182 7.4 202 8.2 2,538 165 6.5 192 7.5

Connecticut

1,533 262 17.1 282 18.4 1,524 223 14.6 248 16.3

Delaware

424 41 9.7 44 10.3 435 42 9.7 44 10.2

District of Columbia

343 30 8.6 33 9.5 350 31 8.9 35 9.9

Florida

8,155 524 6.4 644 7.9 8,667 448 5.2 529 6.1

Georgia

4,173 194 4.6 271 6.5 4,404 211 4.8 256 5.8

Hawaii

508 120 23.7 130 25.7 541 121 22.4 131 24.1

Idaho

732 41 5.6 47 6.4 767 36 4.7 42 5.5

Illinois

5,178 739 14.3 788 15.2 5,397 752 13.9 818 15.2

Indiana

2,838 235 8.3 270 9.5 2,844 256 9.0 290 10.2

Iowa

1,401 93 6.6 128 9.1 1,428 93 6.5 118 8.3

Kansas

1,282 114 8.9 144 11.2 1,300 120 9.2 148 11.4

Kentucky

1,694 127 7.5 160 9.4 1,740 126 7.2 170 9.8

Louisiana

1,682 99 5.9 113 6.7 1,722 81 4.7 98 5.7

Maine

559 82 14.7 93 16.7 563 70 12.4 83 14.7

Maryland

2,690 351 13.1 380 14.1 2,689 295 11.0 332 12.3

Massachusetts

2,982 357 12.0 383 12.8 3,181 402 12.6 433 13.6

Michigan

3,974 604 15.2 661 16.6 4,047 540 13.3 620 15.3

Minnesota

2,515 398 15.8 427 17.0 2,608 416 16.0 446 17.1

Mississippi

1,034 74 7.1 86 8.3 1,080 59 5.5 74 6.9

Missouri

2,525 238 9.4 254 10.1 2,615 235 9.0 266 10.2

Montana

419 50 12.0 54 13.0 438 49 11.2 56 12.9

Nebraska

890 85 9.6 94 10.5 896 61 6.8 72 8.0

Nevada

1,208 161 13.4 186 15.4 1,249 153 12.2 176 14.1

New Hampshire

629 62 9.8 70 11.1 643 65 10.1 73 11.3

New Jersey

3,719 600 16.1 660 17.8 3,762 608 16.2 672 17.9

New Mexico

743 53 7.1 64 8.6 770 58 7.5 70 9.1

New York

7,552 1,661 22.0 1,784 23.6 7,770 1,729 22.2 1,869 24.1

North Carolina

4,128 129 3.1 161 3.9 4,225 108 2.6 142 3.4

North Dakota

338 21 6.2 25 7.4 349 19 5.4 24 6.9

Ohio

4,815 637 13.2 686 14.2 4,966 596 12.0 647 13.0

Oklahoma

1,501 90 6.0 114 7.6 1,546 87 5.6 105 6.8

Oregon

1,694 275 16.2 293 17.3 1,784 318 17.8 336 18.8

Pennsylvania

5,307 717 13.5 775 14.6 5,380 693 12.9 732 13.6

Rhode Island

455 81 17.8 87 19.1 474 75 15.7 83 17.4

South Carolina

2,036 59 2.9 77 3.8 2,070 34 1.7 42 2.0

South Dakota

385 17 4.3 21 5.5 393 16 4.0 20 5.0

Tennessee

2,678 117 4.4 137 5.1 2,820 145 5.2 166 5.9

Texas

11,607 563 4.9 693 6.0 12,057 454 3.8 571 4.7

Utah

1,403 51 3.7 75 5.4 1,465 51 3.5 96 6.5

Vermont

265 31 11.8 36 13.8 262 32 12.3 37 14.2

Virginia

3,703 164 4.4 201 5.4 3,685 176 4.8 240 6.5

Washington

3,201 557 17.4 596 18.6 3,308 629 19.0 661 20.0

West Virginia

666 71 10.7 75 11.3 693 66 9.6 73 10.5

Wisconsin

2,592 227 8.7 264 10.2 2,705 215 7.9 251 9.3

Wyoming

240 18 7.6 22 9.3 234 13 5.7 16 6.9

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) 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.

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.

Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2019-2020 annual averages (numbers in thousands)
State 2019 2020
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

Alabama

2,041 173 8.5 199 9.8 1,896 151 8.0 164 8.7

Alaska

282 48 17.1 53 18.7 280 49 17.7 55 19.5

Arizona

3,028 174 5.7 214 7.1 2,909 155 5.3 207 7.1

Arkansas

1,200 62 5.2 71 5.9 1,158 55 4.7 69 5.9

California

16,485 2,504 15.2 2,726 16.5 15,069 2,441 16.2 2,655 17.6

Colorado

2,631 237 9.0 259 9.8 2,470 182 7.4 202 8.2

Connecticut

1,680 244 14.5 269 16.0 1,533 262 17.1 282 18.4

Delaware

432 38 8.7 43 9.9 424 41 9.7 44 10.3

District of Columbia

361 34 9.3 37 10.2 343 30 8.6 33 9.5

Florida

8,827 551 6.2 667 7.6 8,155 524 6.4 644 7.9

Georgia

4,422 180 4.1 223 5.0 4,173 194 4.6 271 6.5

Hawaii

574 135 23.5 147 25.5 508 120 23.7 130 25.7

Idaho

764 37 4.9 46 6.0 732 41 5.6 47 6.4

Illinois

5,658 771 13.6 832 14.7 5,178 739 14.3 788 15.2

Indiana

3,007 249 8.3 296 9.8 2,838 235 8.3 270 9.5

Iowa

1,543 97 6.3 122 7.9 1,401 93 6.6 128 9.1

Kansas

1,280 112 8.7 130 10.1 1,282 114 8.9 144 11.2

Kentucky

1,786 144 8.0 169 9.5 1,694 127 7.5 160 9.4

Louisiana

1,784 94 5.3 108 6.1 1,682 99 5.9 113 6.7

Maine

588 69 11.8 81 13.7 559 82 14.7 93 16.7

Maryland

2,912 330 11.3 371 12.8 2,690 351 13.1 380 14.1

Massachusetts

3,397 406 12.0 449 13.2 2,982 357 12.0 383 12.8

Michigan

4,323 589 13.6 648 15.0 3,974 604 15.2 661 16.6

Minnesota

2,662 364 13.7 381 14.3 2,515 398 15.8 427 17.0

Mississippi

1,105 70 6.3 93 8.4 1,034 74 7.1 86 8.3

Missouri

2,661 297 11.1 333 12.5 2,525 238 9.4 254 10.1

Montana

437 46 10.5 52 12.0 419 50 12.0 54 13.0

Nebraska

894 75 8.4 86 9.6 890 85 9.6 94 10.5

Nevada

1,379 201 14.6 222 16.1 1,208 161 13.4 186 15.4

New Hampshire

677 69 10.3 79 11.6 629 62 9.8 70 11.1

New Jersey

4,094 642 15.7 712 17.4 3,719 600 16.1 660 17.8

New Mexico

813 58 7.1 72 8.8 743 53 7.1 64 8.6

New York

8,253 1,732 21.0 1,877 22.7 7,552 1,661 22.0 1,784 23.6

North Carolina

4,396 102 2.3 150 3.4 4,128 129 3.1 161 3.9

North Dakota

356 21 6.0 27 7.5 338 21 6.2 25 7.4

Ohio

5,127 610 11.9 673 13.1 4,815 637 13.2 686 14.2

Oklahoma

1,554 96 6.2 123 7.9 1,501 90 6.0 114 7.6

Oregon

1,772 255 14.4 277 15.7 1,694 275 16.2 293 17.3

Pennsylvania

5,642 676 12.0 740 13.1 5,307 717 13.5 775 14.6

Rhode Island

475 83 17.4 90 19.0 455 81 17.8 87 19.1

South Carolina

2,140 47 2.2 59 2.7 2,036 59 2.9 77 3.8

South Dakota

395 22 5.6 26 6.7 385 17 4.3 21 5.5

Tennessee

2,947 135 4.6 162 5.5 2,678 117 4.4 137 5.1

Texas

12,334 497 4.0 642 5.2 11,607 563 4.9 693 6.0

Utah

1,409 62 4.4 83 5.9 1,403 51 3.7 75 5.4

Vermont

290 33 11.2 35 12.0 265 31 11.8 36 13.8

Virginia

3,881 156 4.0 201 5.2 3,703 164 4.4 201 5.4

Washington

3,393 638 18.8 684 20.2 3,201 557 17.4 596 18.6

West Virginia

704 72 10.2 78 11.1 666 71 10.7 75 11.3

Wisconsin

2,698 218 8.1 245 9.1 2,592 227 8.7 264 10.2

Wyoming

243 18 7.3 21 8.7 240 18 7.6 22 9.3

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to members of a labor union or an employee association similar to a union.
(2) 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.

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: Friday, February 18, 2022