10 Facts About American Workers

In honor of Labor Day this year, Pew Research Center Senior Writer Drew DeSilver recently updated his online article "10 Facts About American Workers." In case you missed the article, here are the highlights:

  • Over the past three decades, the share of American workers who are union members has fallen by about half.

  • There is broad support for the right of workers to unionize across a range of occupations. About 8 in 10 Americans (82%) said manufacturing and factory workers should have that right. About 6 in 10 (62%) said fast-food workers should be able to unionize, while 35% opposed that.

  • Most Americans work in the service sector. In July, 102.6 million people (71% of all non-farm payroll employees) worked in private service-providing industries, according to the most recent employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • 3 in 10 jobs are held by the self-employed and the workers they hire.

  • Millennials are now the largest generation in the labor force.

  • American women earn 83 cents on the dollar compared with men, but that gap is narrowing substantially among younger workers.

  • The wage gap between young workers with college degrees and their less-educated counterparts is the widest in decades.

  • A much smaller share of U.S. teens works today compared with earlier decades.

  • An increased number of older Americans are working today. In May of this year, 18.8% of Americans ages 65 and older – nearly 9 million people – reported being employed full- or part-time.

  • Raising the minimum wage is a highly partisan issue. Overall, 58% of Americans favor increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15, according to an August Pew Research Center survey. Along party lines: 82% of Clinton supporters favor raising the federal minimum wage to $15, while nearly as many Trump supporters (76%) oppose it.


For a deeper dive, check out the full article here