In 2011, union membership increased 49,000 last year to 14.76 million.
However, the Union membership rate declined by just 10 basis points in 2011 to 11.8% according to BLS data.
In 1983, the first year for which comparable data is available, union membership stood at 20.1%.
Among the survey’s other findings:
- Public sector workers had a union membership rate five times higher than the private sector — 37 % versus 6.9 %.
- Teachers and librarians had the highest unionization rate at 36.8 %, while sales workers had the lowest at 3 %.
- Demographically, Black men showed the highest rate at 17%, while Asian men showed the lowest at 10.1 %.
- Among states, New York was first with 24%, while North Carolina was last with 2.9%.
- Utility workers saw the greatest drop in union membership, declining 4.6% from 2010. Motion picture and sound recording professionals saw the greatest gain, 3.5%.