Unions’ Decline and the Rise of the Top 10 Percent’s Share of Income

Source: Lawrence Mishel and Will Kimball, Economic Policy Institute (EPI), February 3, 2015

A pattern that Colin Gordon has presented in past years (2013, 2012) is that union membership density fell as the share of income going to the top 10 percent escalated. We update his chart using new data from Piketty and Saez’s analysis of tax data. Union membership remained at 11.2 percent in 2013, though we already know that it dropped to 11.1 percent in 2014 (not shown in the figure). The share of income going to the top 10 percent hit 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earliest year available in Piketty and Saez’s data). ….