Construction Industry Experiences Slight Increase in Union Representation in 2011
The percentage of construction workers represented by a union rose very slightly in 2011, to 14.9 percent from 13.7 percent in 2010, according to the latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median weekly earnings of workers in the industry also increased over the year, according to BLS – from $735 to $746.
BLS reports that the total number of workers in the industry rose from 6.103 million in 2010 to 6.244 million in 2011. However, the total number of workers employed in construction and extraction occupations (as compared to all types of employees working in the industry) declined in 2011, from 5.579 million workers to 5.575 million. At the same time, the percentage of workers in such occupations who were represented by a union increased somewhat, from 19.7 percent in 2010 to 20.1 percent in 2011.
Note that BLS data include residential construction, which is historically far less unionized than other sectors of the industry.
Construction continues to have one of the highest union representation rates among private industries, exceeded only by the transportation and utilities industries. Union representation across all private-sector industries was 7.6 percent in 2011, as compared to 7.7 percent in 2010.
BLS data for the industry further reveal that median weekly earnings of union-represented workers fell from $1,046 in 2010 to $1,037 in 2011, while earnings of those not represented by a union rose from $692 in 2010 to $698 in 2011.
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