Union membership hit a plateau in 2011 after falling by almost 1.4 million workers between 2008 and 2010, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Union Membership report. At 14.8 million (up about 49,000), the total number of union members and the share of workers in a union, 11.8 percent (down 0.1 percentage points), were essentially unchanged last year.
In the public sector, the total number of union members declined 61,000, as squeezed federal, state, and local governments cut back employment. Union density (the share of the workforce that is a member of a union) in the public sector, however, increased 0.8 percentage points, to 37.0 percent - due to overall employment in the sector declining more rapidly than union membership. In the private sector, union membership increased by about 110,000, with union density holding steady at 6.9 percent.
For a more in-depth analysis, read our latest Union Byte.