Do Unions Contribute to Unemployment? Best and Worst States For Jobs

Highly unionized states have higher unemployment.

Editors Note:  For our February 2010 post that includes the updated State List of Unionization and Employment please go to State Unionism Rankings: Do Higher Unionized States have Higher Unemployment?

For the latest in Job Openings go to Job Openings by State January 2010


I thought you might find this list interesting.  It has been long debated whether unions help or hurt workers,companies and economies.  It appears that unionized states have high unemployment.  Pick where you want to live and work carefully.  Look for states with union participation below 10%.  You may have a higher chance of being employed.

Highest Unemployment States (Worst States) and Unionization

State                              Unemp%                        Rank                Union%        Union Rank
Michigan                9.6%                  50               19.5%           5
Rhode Island         9.3%                  49               15.0%          11
California               8.4%                  48               16.7%           7
South Carolina       8.4%                  47                 4.1%          48
Oregon                   8.1%                  46                14.3%         14

The most unionized state in the U.S. is New York at a 25.3%.  Its unemployment rate in November 2008 was 6.1%.

The lowest unemployment states typically have low union rates.  For example, Wyoming with the lowest unemployment at 3.3% has only 7.9% of its workforce unionized and ranks 32nd in U.S. in unionization.  Texas considered a Best State by CEO’s to grow their businesses has only a 4.7% unionization rate, 5th lowest in the country at a 45 rank. Its unemployment is 5.7%, below the country average.

The old adage “unions increase unemployment” may just be true.

Note to readers
:  State unemployment rates for December were recently released.  We will update you on some of the rankings.  Michigan’s unemployment jumped to 10.6%, California jumped to 9.3%, Rhode Island to 9.3%, Oregon to 9% and New York to 7%.  Wyoming has not reported. Texas unemployment is now 6%.  BLS will be releasing all state rankings shortly.

Sources: The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), Inc., Arlington, VA,
Union Membership and Earnings Data Book: Compilations from the
Current Population Survey (2008 edition), (copyright by BNA PLUS);
authored by Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University and David Macpherson of Florida
State University. Internet sites bnaplus.bna.com/LaborReports.aspx , www.bls.gov/lau/home.htm 
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