Union Representation in Construction Slips in 2012, While Earnings Rise

Union Representation in Construction Slips in 2012, While Earnings Rise

Union representation in the construction industry slipped to 13.7 percent (850,000 workers) in 2012, a decline from 14.9 percent (928,000 workers) in 2011 and equal to the percentage in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports.

Union representation in the construction industry slipped to 13.7 percent (850,000 workers) in 2012, a decline from 14.9 percent (928,000 workers) in 2011 and equal to the percentage in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Union membership in the industry dropped from 14 percent (874,000 workers) in 2011 to 13.2 percent (820,000 workers) in 2012. Total employment in construction fell from 6.244 million workers to 6.205 million.

While union representation in the construction industry declined last year, median weekly earnings of workers in the industry increased from $746 to $768, according to BLS. Weekly earnings of union-represented workers in construction rose from $1,037 to $1,069, while those of unrepresented workers rose from $698 to $722.

The construction industry continues to have one of the highest union representation rates among private industries reported by BLS, exceeded only by the transportation and utilities industries. Union representation across all private-sector industries was 7.3 percent in 2012, as compared to 7.6 percent in 2011.

Assessments of BLS industry data should consider that such data cover surveyed employees at all levels and classifications, including personnel that are not typically organized, such as office clerical workers, professional staff and executives. The data also cover all sectors of the industry, including residential construction.

BLS further reports that the percentage of union-represented workers in construction and extraction occupations – whether employed in the construction industry or another industry – also fell in 2012, from 20.1 percent to 19.9 percent. The number of workers employed in such occupations declined from 5.575 to 5.567 million.

For the full report from BLS, click here. For additional breakdowns of BLS data on union representation, including industry data broken down by state, click here.