Record 89 Percent of U.S. Construction Industry Was Not in a Union in 2023

Record 89 Percent of U.S. Construction Industry Was Not in a Union in 2023

Residential News » Washington D.C. Edition | By WPJ Staff | January 24, 2024 7:56 AM ET

Based on the Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2023 Union Members Summary, a historic low of 10.7% of the construction industry belongs to a union in 2023, a decline from 11.7% in 2022.

BLS reports that 7.9 million construction workers were not members of a union in 2023. Additionally, ABC found that there has never been a smaller percentage of union members in the construction industry since the BLS began tracking this data in 1973.

"The BLS data suggests that the Biden administration's numerous policy schemes benefiting construction unions has not been enough to reverse steady declines in union market share," said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. "In contrast to the Biden administration's promotion of exclusionary and inflationary policies supported by organized labor, all qualified contractors should be--and clearly want to be--encouraged to build and rebuild taxpayer-funded infrastructure and upskill their workforce. However, anti-competitive regulations like the final rule mandating corrupt project labor agreements on federal construction contracts, the controversial proposal overhauling the government-registered apprenticeship system, the costly and burdensome final Davis-Bacon rule and the confusing independent contractor final rule are only stifling that potential and further exacerbating the industry's labor shortage. The president would add more value to the industry and level the playing field for all contractors to compete by creating inclusive, win-win policies that reflect the choice of industry workers not to affiliate with a union."

Construction unions lost 65,000 members over the past year, decreasing from 1.019 million members in 2022 to 954,000 members in 2023. That's despite BLS data showing that the construction industry grew by 249,000 workers, from 8.671 million in 2022 to 8.920 million in 2023. 

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