The Numbers Behind the Union Decline

It’s not news that union relevance in the private sector has been on a decades-long decline. But here are a few numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on 2010 data:

  • 6.9% of private sector workers were union members
  • Overall, 11.9% of U.S. workers were union members, down from 12.3% in 2009
  • About half of the 14.7 million union members lived in six states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey
  • Top union membership rates by percentage: New York (24.2%), Alaska (22.9%), Hawaii (21.8%), Washington (19.4%), California (17.5%) and New Jersey (17.1%)
  • Eight states had membership rates below 5%: North Carolina (3.2%), Arkansas and Georgia (4% each), Louisiana (4.3%), Mississippi (4.5%), South Carolina and Virginia (4.6% each) and Tennessee (4.7%)