2015 State of the Sector Report

Democracy at Work Institute

The latest State of the Sector report by the Democracy at Work Institute and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives covers research on worker-owned enterprises through 2015. Three years into surveying worker cooperatives on a national scale, we are positioned to analyze stability and change—demographically, and in terms of business performance, wages, and benefits.

Our reports on the sector are typically published in the fall for the previous year’s data. This year’s report comes late due to systems and personnel changes, nevertheless the results presented in the 2015 report offer key insights into the shape and growth of our movement. Looking longitudinally, we can confirm worker cooperatives have grown at a modest pace since 2013 and that they are creating good jobs and economic value, increasing equity in their communities.

This year, we used the Inclusive Economies framework developed by the Rockefeller Foundation to organize our thoughts about the impact of worker cooperatives. When looking at the Inclusive Economies indicators alongside our data, we see meaningful alignment: worker cooperatives are succeeding at providing full-time work, often in industries characterized by part-time work, for a workforce that is 60% people of color and 2/3 female. Worker cooperatives are distributing wealth more diffusely than conventional businesses, improving material well-being for workers, and offering opportunities for democratic participation.

Now, in the fall of 2017, we begin another round of data collection for the Enterprise Census in hopes that we expand our reach, allowing us to learn more about worker cooperatives and their impacts over time. We will publish the results promptly.

We give thanks to supporters of this work, and especially to the members of participating cooperatives for your involvement.


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