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S.C. union membership rate remains lowest in U.S.

Human Resources
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South Carolina continues to have the lowest union membership rate in the United States, dropping half a percentage point between 2018 and 2019.

The Palmetto State had approximately 47,000 members of unions in 2019, 2.2% of people employed, and about 59,000 workers represented by unions, 2.7% of the workforce, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2018, South Carolina had about 55,000 union members, 2.7% of people employed, and about 72,000 workers represented by unions, 3.6% of the workforce.

Between 2018 and 2019, the bureau said, the number of people employed in South Carolina rose by 124,000 to 2.14 million.

North Carolina, the state with the second-lowest union membership rate, dropped from 2.7% of the workforce to 2.3% between 2018 and 2019.

The states with the highest union membership rate in 2019 were Hawaii, with 23.5% of workers in a union, and New York, with 21% of workers in a union.

Nationally, union membership was 10.3% in 2019, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2018, with 14.6 million union members. In 1983, the first year for which comparable data is available, union membership was 20.1%, with 17.7 million union members.

The bureau said union members in the U.S. had median usual weekly earnings of $1,095 in 2019, compared with non-union members’ median usual weekly earnings of $892.

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