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Monthly Labor Review Online

September, 2000, Vol. 123, No. 9

Regional Trends

ArrowUnion membership, by States
ArrowMultiple jobholding, by State 

Maps (PDF 156K)
Full Text (PDF 109K)

Union membership, by States

Union membership rates among wage and salary workers showed a distinct geographic pattern once again in 1999, according to results from the Current Population Survey. The 20 States with the highest union membership rates included all five States in the East North Central division, all three States in the Middle Atlantic division, all five States in the Pacific division, and four of the six States in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island). No State in the East South Central or West South Central division was in the top 20, while only one State each in the South Atlantic and West North Central division had a union membership rate high enough to rank in the top 20.

New York, Hawaii, and Michigan had the highest rates of union membership in 1999—all more than 21.0 percent. These States, along with Alaska and New Jersey, have been among the most unionized States since at least 1995. North Carolina and South Carolina had the lowest rates in 1999—3.2 and 3.5 percent, respectively—as they have for the past 5 years. New York, the most unionized State, had a union membership rate eight times that of North Carolina, the least unionized State (25.3 percent versus 3.2 percent).

California (2.3 million), New York (1.9 million), and Illinois and Michigan (both 1.0 million) had the greatest number of union members. More than half (53 percent) of the 16.5 million union members in the United States lived in seven States, although these States accounted for only 38 percent of wage and salary employment nationally. Interestingly, Washington had slightly more union members than Texas, despite having less than one-third as much employment.

At the national level, union members made up 13.9 percent of all persons with wage and salary employment in 1999, the same as in 1998. Twenty-three States had union membership rates above the U.S. average, while 27 States and the District of Columbia had lower rates.

Map showing union membership rates by state, 1999 annual average



Multiple jobholding, by State

State multiple jobholding rates in 1999 continued to show both considerable variation around the U.S. average and a clear geographic concentration. Of the six States with rates of more than 9.0 percent, four were in the West North Central census division. In fact, all States in the West North Central region had rates at least 2.0 percentage points above the U.S. rate. This is the division with the lowest unemployment rate, both in 1999 and for the entire 1990s decade. Of the eight States with multiple jobholding rates below 5.0 percent, six were in the South region. All four States in the East South Central division and three of the four States in the West South Central division had rates below the U.S. average. These regional patterns were similar to those of recent years.

Overall, 30 States and the District of Columbia had multiple jobholding rates above the U.S. average of 5.8 percent, while 20 had lower rates. North Dakota and Montana had the highest rates, 10.3 percent each. For the sixth consecutive year, Minnesota had a double-digit multiple jobholding rate, 10.0 percent. Louisiana again recorded the lowest rate, 3.8 percent. Mississippi had the second lowest rate, 4.3 percent, followed by three other States at 4.5 percent each. This marks the fourth time in the last 5 years that Louisiana has had the lowest multiple jobholding rate of all the States.

The largest over-the-year percentage point declines in multiple jobholding were recorded in Virginia (–1.5), Kansas (–1.2), and Arizona (–1.0). Rhode Island and Hawaii had the largest increases from the prior year, 1.1 and 1.0 percentage point, respectively. The U.S. rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point from 1998, and has been rather stable, ranging only from 5.8 to 6.2 percent over the past 6 years.

Map showing Multiple jobholding rates by State, 1999 annual averages



"Regional Trends" is prepared in the Division of Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics. More information is on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/lau/ or call (202) 691-6392.

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