Union membership in New Mexico increased by 3,000 people in 2017, and now, 6.7 percent of the state's workforce is unionized, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Last year there were 52,000 union members in the state, up from 49,000 in 2016. Last year there were 769,000 non-farm employees in the state, down from 784,000 in 2016.
Nationally, the union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was unchanged at 10.7 percent in 2017. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2017, edged up by 262,000 from 2016. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.
Here are some highlights from the BLS's 2017 data:
• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (34.4 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.5 percent).
• Workers in protective service occupations and in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rates (34.7 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively).
• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.4 percent) than women (10.0 percent).
• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers.
• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($829 versus $1,041). (The comparisons of earnings in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.)
• Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.8 percent), while South Carolina continued to have the lowest (2.6 percent).
• In 2017, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.6 million workers in the private sector. Although the union membership rate for private-sector workers edged up by 0.1 percentage point in 2017, their unionization rate continued to be substantially lower than that for public-sector workers (6.5 percent versus 34.4 percent). Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest in local government (40.1 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized
occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Private-sector industries with high unionization rates included utilities (23.0 percent), transportation and warehousing (17.3 percent), telecommunications (16.1 percent), and construction (14.0 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.1 percent), food services and drinking places (1.4 percent), and professional and technical services (1.7 percent).
Here's a look at union membership rates in surrounding states:
New Mexico: 6.7%
And here's a quick look at union membership rates for all the states: