According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), North Carolina lost 17,000 union jobs last year, cementing its position as the least-unionized state in the nation. Just 3.1% of North Carolinians belonged to a union in 2009, down from 3.5% in 2008.
That translates into 115,000 union jobs, compared to 132,000 in 2008.
Broadly, North Carolina followed a nationwide trend, as union jobs took a relatively bigger hit during the economic downturn than nonunion jobs did.
Across the United States, 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.
Only two BLS industry categories grew in union membership over the past decade: education and health services, and public-sector employees.