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    Unionization declining in manufacturing

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    Employment declines affected almost all manufacturing industries from 1998 to 2008. The industries hit hardest were textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, auto parts and industries related to wood and paper. The jobs lost were more likely to be unionized jobs.

    Unionized jobs in manufacturing disappeared twice as quickly as non-unionized jobs over that period. Consequently, the rate of unionization in the manufacturing sector declined from 32.2% in 1998 to 26.4% in 2008. In the rest of the economy, unionization rates edged down from 30.1% to 29.5%.

    Unionization is generally seen as an indicator of job quality. Unionized jobs are more likely to be full time and, on average, unionized workers make more per hour. In 2008, 4.1% of manufacturing jobs were part time, and this proportion has remained virtually unchanged since 1998. The very low proportion of part-time employment is an attribute peculiar to manufacturing. In the rest of the economy—which is shifting toward service jobs in large cities and smaller regions alike—over 20% of jobs are part time.

    Chart 23.2 Capacity utilization rate, manufacturing industries
    View data source for chart 23.2

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