What percentage of American workers are unionized?

Place your bet before reading on…

Some interesting numbers from the most recent BLS “Union Members Summary”:

> The union membership rate — the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions — was 10.1% in 2022

That’s down slightly  from the 10.3% in 2021 … but half the 20.1% rate in 1983 — the first year where comparable union data was collected and reported


> In 2022, 30% of the 14.3 million union members lived in just two states: California (2.6 million) and New York (1.7 million).


> The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.1%) is more than five times higher than the 6% rate for private-sector workers.


> The highest unionization rates in 2022 were 34.6% in “protective service occupations (think: police & fire) and 33.7% in education (think: public school teachers)


> Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings 18% higher than nonunion workers ($1,216 to $1,029).

But, those wage differentials are largely attributable to the concentration of union workers in high cost-of-living states (i.e. CA, NY and NJ).


For the record, I pegged the unionization rate way high at 20% to 25%.

How did you do?



One Response to “What percentage of American workers are unionized?”

  1. be1602015 Says:

    Prof Homa,

    I miss you! I have not seen your commentary lately and I enjoy catching up on your take on both politics and macro trends. Weird times we live in. I hope you are doing well and enjoying time with family!

    Attaching a picture of the kids and I skiing our “family mountain” in Tahoe back in California before it gets turned a posh private club next year that we can’t afford. It is tough.. I am a big proponent of free market capitalism, and all of my socialist neighbors are against this deal given the “profit hungry” management who are ruining our neighborhood. I realize it isn’t “our mountain” but I sure do empathize with my neighbors this time. That said.. I’ll take the woes of capitalism over the woes of socialism any day.

    Blessings, -Ben

    P.s. the younger one there was born just days before our final project was due in your class. That was a stressful week! He is 7 now and skiing great – time flies!


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