The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual Union Membership report this week.

It showed a continuation of the steep decline in union membership since 1983, the first year of the report.  In 1983, there were 17.7 million unionized workers and the membership rate was 20.1% of the U.S. workforce.

 In 2019, there were 14.6 million and the membership rate was 10.3%, a reduction of almost half.

Digging deeper, the BLS numbers reveal a stark contrast:  unionization among public sector employees remains very high and stable at 33.6%, whereas unionization among private sector employees has plummeted to just a fifth of the public sector rate, at 6.2%.

The public sector employees with the very highest rates of unionization are employees of local governments and districts: police, fire, and education.

Lastly, more than half of all unionized workers in the U.S. are found in just 7 states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington.  Chart below from using BLS data.