CEPR
For Immediate Release: January 19, 2019
Contact: Karen Conner, 202-281-4159, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show overall union membership since 2017 continues its decades-long rate of decline, but there are some bright spots, according to a new analysis released today from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Due to the partial government shutdown, CEPR’s more in-depth analyses use the first 11 months of 2018 data. This report will be updated when the data are available.

Overall union membership fell by 0.2 percentage points compared to the same period in 2017. Today’s data release was particularly anticipated to see what effect, if any, the Supreme Court decision in the Janus case had on the public sector unionization rate. Public sector unionization continued its fourth year at either a flat or declining rate, dropping half a percentage point, to 33.9 percent in 2018. However, while the rate of federal and state public sector union members declined, it increased for local government workers.

Federal government union membership share fell 0.2 percentage points to 26.4 percent. State government union membership share fell 1.7 percentage points to 28.6 percent. Local government, however, increased its union membership share by 0.2 percentage points to 40.3 percent.

The private sector occupations with the largest growth in union membership rates were protective service occupations, up by 1.8 percentage points. Transportation and material moving occupations saw the largest union membership growth in the public sector, up by 6.3 percentage points, to 40.2 percent.