According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania lost 65,000 union jobs last year, and the rate of union membership declined from 15.4% to 15%.
The number of union jobs in Pennsylvania fell from 847,000 to 782,000.
Union jobs took a greater hit than nonunion jobs as the economy contracted.
Nationally, union membership had fallen steadily since World War II, but seemed to bottom out in 2006, when 12% of workers belonged to unions. The unionization rate ticked up to 12.1% in 2007, 12.4% in 2008 and then dipped slightly to 12.3% in 2009.
The slide appears to have halted at the same time that unions, most notably the Service Employees International Union, began organizing efforts that targeted jobs that can’t be outsourced overseas.
While union membership rates have risen largely across the board since 2006, only one occupational category has shown growth since 2000:, professional and related occupations.
Only two industries showed growth in union membership over the past decade:
- Education and health services
- Public-sector employees.