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Face of U.S. Unions Shifting More to Public-Sector Workers, Women

Tom Raum The Detroit News (Associated Press)
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels. Roughly 1-in-3 public-sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private-sector workforce. The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are in unions.

Union Membership, 2013

Janelle Jones and John Schmitt CEPR
The number of union members rose 162,000 in 2013, reflecting a drop of 118,000 in the public sector that was offset by a rise of 281,000 in the private sector. Expressed as a share of the workforce, the union membership rate was unchanged in 2013, at 11.3 percent. For the first time since 2008, the total number of union members in the private sector (7.3 million) was higher than the total number of workers in the public sector (7.2 million).

As Union Membership Declines, So Do Wages - Despite Job Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of union members fell by 400,000 last year, to 14.3 million, even though the nation's overall employment rose by 2.4 million - the unionization rate to its lowest level in close to a century. among full-time workers, union members had median weekly earnings of $943 last year (about $49,000 annually), compared with $742 (about $38,600 annually), for comparable nonunion workers.
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