In 2019, union members among wage and salary workers in the United States accounted for 10.3% of the workforce (14.6 million), down 0.2% from 2018. Comparable data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have been available only since 1983. Back then, the rate of union membership was 20.1% (17.7 million workers).
The bureau has now released a close-up of regional data, which confirm that union membership rates in New York and in New Jersey are still above the U.S. average; they’ve been above the U.S average since 1989, in fact. In 2019, union members made up 21% of wage and salary workers in New York (the second-highest rate in the country) and 15.7% in New Jersey, compared with 22.3% and 14.9%, respectively, in 2018. The 15.7% rate for the Garden State in 2019 was for 642,000 union members out of 4,094,000 wage and salary workers.
The state with the highest union membership last year was Hawaii, at 23.5%. Ho’omaika’i ‘ana! At the other end of the scale, eight states had union membership rates below 5% last year, with the Carolinas the lowest of all — North Carolina (2.3%) and South Carolina (2.2%).