In 2018, the average rate of union membership among wage and salary workers by state was 10.5 percent, down 0.2 percent from the previous year. In New Jersey, there were 587,000 (or 14.9 percent) employed union members out of the total of 3,935,000 wage and salary workers; that was down from 16.2 percent in 2017. (The data are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
The total of union workers in the United States last year was 14.7 million. Twenty states had union membership rates above the U.S. average, with Hawaii (23.1 percent) and New York (22.3 percent) the highest. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia had rates below the U.S. average, with the lowest rates in the Carolinas (both 2.7 percent).
More than half of the union members in the U.S. lived in just seven states: California (2.4 million); New York (1.9 million); Illinois (800,000); Pennsylvania (700,000); and Michigan, Ohio, and Washington (600,000 each).
Some national statistics of note: The rate of union membership among public-sector workers (33.9 percent) was more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent); men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.1 percent) than women (9.9 percent); median weekly earnings for nonunion workers were 82 percent of earnings for union members ($860 versus $1,051).