Press Release

Updated Report Details Union Membership by State and Sector in 2018

March 07, 2019

Contact: Karen Conner, (202) 293-5380 x117Mail_Outline

March 7, 2019

For Immediate Release: March 7, 2019
Contact: Karen Conner, 202-281-4159, [email protected]

Washington DC — The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released today the updated Union Membership Byte 2019 (the preliminary report was released January 19, 2019) that includes the final month of 2018 data that was delayed by the recent partial government shutdown. This updated report contains the complete analysis of the data showing developments in union membership for 2018, including analysis of union membership by state and sector.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows overall union membership since 2017 continues its decades-long rate of decline, falling by 0.2 percentage points between 2017 and 2018 to 10.5 percent of workers.

Last year’s Supreme Court decision in the Janus case has focused attention on changes in 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 saw its membership share fall 0.2 percentage points and state government membership share fell 1.7 percentage points. Local government, however, added 64,000 union workers in 2018, increasing its membership share by 0.2 percentage points to 40.3 percent.

Public sector unionization rates increased the most in Missouri (up 12.0 percentage points), Oklahoma (up 6.1 percentage points), Hawaii (up 6.0 percentage points), Wisconsin (up 5.5 percentage points), and Minnesota (up 5.4 percentage points). The rate declined the most in Nebraska (down 6.7 percentage points), followed by Indiana (down 5.8 percentage points), New Hampshire (down 5.7 percentage points), Michigan (down 4.8 percentage points), and California (down 4.7 percentage points).

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