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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

State of the Worker Co-op Sector

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March 16, 2020
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Covering six years of business progress, the 2019 Worker Cooperative State of the Sector is a report on worker-owned business in the United States. This report is a co-production of Democracy at Work Institute and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, drawing upon the latest developments in the field, and deepens our understanding of the sector.

This latest set of data illustrates steady growth and reflects our growing knowledge of existing firms. Still, the worker-owned businesses continue to enter startup operations at a rate of about 25 new firms per year, in addition to the growth of converted businesses.

The 2019 Worker Cooperative State of the Sector includes an updated map of metro areas with a concentration of worker cooperatives, along with a breakdown of business number totals in the top 16 states. Most notable is the inclusion of 50 confirmed worker cooperatives in Puerto Rico, which greatly adds to the overall number of confirmed worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces.

This year’s report continues to show the growth of the worker cooperative movement is being led by female workers and workers of color. For the first time in our annual State of the Sector series, we asked workplaces to identify the challenges they are facing, illuminating common challenges across the country. The report also sheds light on equitable pay ratios within worker-owned firms.


  • Olga Prushinskaya, Metrics and Impact Analyst at Democracy at Work Institute
  • Mo Manklang, Communications Director at the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
  • Julian McKinley, Communications Director at Democracy at Work Institute


The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives. Our mission is to build a thriving cooperative movement of stable, empowering jobs through worker-ownership. We advance worker-owned, -managed, and -governed workplaces through cooperative education, advocacy and development.

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