The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey (CPS) is the main source of union data in the United States. CPS includes membership counts and median weekly earnings data at the national level for industries and occupations between the 2- and 3-digit levels. Although only national-level figures are published, the data is collected by MSA and can be requested at that level from the BLS.
Emsi reviewed both the published national figures and the more granular MSA-level data. The national-level published data is not granular enough to be particularly useful, and the sample size at the MSA level is too small to be a reliable basis for analysis. For these reasons, Emsi does not offer union data in its products.
How Can I Get Union Data?
Users who would like to look at available union data from the BLS can check out the national-level published CPS tables. These tables are straightforward, easily digestible, and contain the union data the BLS is willing to publish.
UnionStats is a privately maintained site that publishes the data contained in the CPS microdata files mentioned above, but in a format that is relatively easy to use. We recommend UnionStats for users who want a more granular but still navigable look at union data (UnionStats does not publish earnings data).
Finally, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) makes the CPS microdata files freely available for download and analysis. These files are recommended for users who are proficient with Excel or more programmatic data wrangling techniques, and who don’t mind sifting through the CPS microdata to extract union-related responses.