Union Membership, Coverage, Density, and Employment
Among Private Sector Manufacturing Workers, 1973-2017
Year Obs Employment Members Covered %Mem %Cov
1973 13,108 20,107.6 7,827.7 -- 38.9 --
1974 12,865 20,480.9 7,759.7 -- 37.9 --
1975 11,377 18,477.2 6,656.8 -- 36.0 --
1976 11,832 19,523.1 6,958.8 -- 35.6 --
1977 13,316 20,030.0 7,118.5 7,527.6 35.5 37.6
1978 13,148 20,677.4 7,076.8 7,589.3 34.2 36.7
1979 13,389 21,238.2 7,509.5 8,115.8 35.4 38.2
1980 15,011 20,850.4 6,726.0 7,251.9 32.3 34.8
1981 3,423 21,281.2 6,665.9 7,188.2 31.3 33.8
1982 -- -- -- -- -- --
1983 35,436 19,066.1 5,302.8 5,811.7 27.8 30.5
1984 36,897 20,206.9 5,250.4 5,729.4 26.0 28.4
1985 36,967 20,120.1 4,996.3 5,421.9 24.8 26.9
1986 36,231 20,295.8 4,869.4 5,230.8 24.0 25.8
1987 35,739 20,235.3 4,691.0 5,007.6 23.2 24.7
1988 33,803 20,430.0 4,516.0 4,853.8 22.1 23.8
1989 34,276 20,690.4 4,467.3 4,778.9 21.6 23.1
1990 35,064 20,338.6 4,197.3 4,514.1 20.6 22.2
1991 33,183 19,589.5 3,975.7 4,269.3 20.3 21.8
1992 31,814 19,076.2 3,749.0 4,004.6 19.7 21.0
1993 30,579 18,710.1 3,591.8 3,805.8 19.2 20.3
1994 29,818 19,271.2 3,510.7 3,783.8 18.2 19.6
1995 29,303 19,520.0 3,439.6 3,657.3 17.6 18.7
1996 25,388 19,653.4 3,387.4 3,602.6 17.2 18.3
1997 25,707 19,961.2 3,253.4 3,440.8 16.3 17.2
1998 25,291 19,762.5 3,127.2 3,315.0 15.8 16.8
1999 24,741 19,322.9 3,024.0 3,209.1 15.6 16.6
2000 24,394 19,167.3 2,831.8 2,999.4 14.8 15.6
2001 24,658 18,147.1 2,658.1 2,807.0 14.6 15.5
2002 25,001 16,918.2 2,427.1 2,557.1 14.3 15.1
2003 22,872 16,129.8 2,172.9 2,313.7 13.5 14.3
2004 21,897 15,753.5 2,036.2 2,183.1 12.9 13.9
2005 21,431 15,518.4 2,016.9 2,127.3 13.0 13.7
2006 20,943 15,642.6 1,827.0 1,948.8 11.7 12.5
2007 20,252 15,341.5 1,734.2 1,845.1 11.3 12.0
2008 19,808 15,131.4 1,723.5 1,862.5 11.4 12.3
2009 17,884 13,454.0 1,469.5 1,594.7 10.9 11.9
2010 17,488 13,251.8 1,418.5 1,537.8 10.7 11.6
2011 17,501 13,596.1 1,424.0 1,520.7 10.5 11.2
2012 17,763 13,935,9 1,335.4 1,465.6 9.6 10.5
2013 17,868 14,188.3 1,429.0 1,555.2 10.1 11.0
2014 17,830 14,462.0 1,407.3 1,514.1 9.7 10.5
2015 17,389 14,534.5 1,366.7 1,460.6 9.4 10.0
2016 17,432 14,777.7 1,295.1 1,422.3 8.8 9.6
2017 16,975 14,656.1 1,328.3 1,460.1 9.1 10.0
             
Data sources: For the years 1973-81 the May Current Population (CPS). For the years
1983-2017 the CPS Outgoing Rotation Group (ORG) Earnings Files. There were no
union questions in the 1982 CPS. Sample includes wage and salary workers, ages
16 and over. Variable definitions are: Obs=CPS sample size; Employment=wage and
salary employment in thousands, Members=employed workers who are union members
in thousands, Covered=workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement in
thousands, %Mem=percent of employed workers who are union members, and
%Cov=percent of employed workers who are covered by a collective bargaining
agreement. The definition of union membership was expanded in 1977 to include
"employee associations similar to a union."
2018 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson. The use of data requires citation.