Union Membership Rate Declines in 2021, Returns to 2019 Rate of 10.3 Percent

The union membership rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 10.3% in 2021, offsetting the increase in the prior year and bringing the rate back to what it was in 2019. In 2021, the rate decreased due to a decline in the number of union members (−241,000, or −1.7%) and an increase in the number of wage and salary workers overall (+4.2 million, or +3.2%).

In 2021, wage and salary employment increased for all major worker groups, while the number of union members decreased for most groups. These changes brought union membership rates down from 2020. Many rates are in line with or below where they were in 2019.

The unionization rate for men decreased to 10.6% in 2021, and the rate for women declined to 9.9%. The rate for men is below their 2019 rate, while the rate for women is above their 2019 rate.