ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – There are new numbers when it comes to union membership in the Bi-State and across the U.S.

In one word , the new numbers show ‘decline.’ Union membership declined across the nation by just a fraction from 11.8% to 11.3% from 2011 to 2012.

Regional Economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Jacquelyn Michael-Midkiff says in Missouri the decline was more dramatic: 10.9% to 8.9% during that period. And in Illinois the figures show a drop from 16.2% to 14.6%

The bureau does not provide a reason for the numbers in individual states, but points out nationwide the losses took place mainly in the public sector , specifically teachers.

The 2012 data show:

Public sector workers had a union membership rate (35.9 %) more than five times higher than that of private sector workers (6.6 %)

Workers in education, training and library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rates, at 35.4 and 34.8 %, respectively.

Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian or Hispanic workers.

Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.2%) and North Carolina again had the lowest rate (2.9 %)

in 2012, 7.3 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.0 million union workers in the private sector.

Local government workers had the highest union membership rate, 41.7%. This group includes workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.


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