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Union membership rate 10.1% in 2022, down from 10.3% in 2021

The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 10.1 percent in 2022, down from 10.3 percent in 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.3 million in 2022, increased by 273,000, or 1.9 percent, from 2021.

However, the total number of wage and salary workers grew by 5.3 million (mostly among nonunion workers), or 3.9 percent. This disproportionately large increase in the number of total wage and salary employment compared with the increase in the number of union members led to a decrease in the union membership rate. The 2022 unionization rate (10.1 percent) is the lowest on record. In 1983, the first year where comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over.

Highlights from the 2022 data:

  • The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.1 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.0 percent).
  • The highest unionization rates were among workers in protective service occupations (34.6 percent) and in education, training, and library occupations (33.7 percent).
  • Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.5 percent) than women (9.6 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.
  • Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers.
  • Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 85 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($1,029 versus $1,216). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.)
  • Among states, Hawaii and New York had the highest union membership rates (21.9 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina had the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively).

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This article was released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.