Work Stoppages technical note
Last Modified Date: February 11, 2015
The major work stoppages series dates back to 1947. The term “major work stoppage” includes both
worker-initiated strikes and employer-initiated lockouts that involve 1,000 workers or more and lasting
at least one shift. BLS does not distinguish between lockouts and strikes in its statistics.
Information on work stoppages is obtained from reports from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation
Service, state labor market information offices, BLS Strike Report from the Office of Employment and
Unemployment Statistics, and from media sources. One or both parties involved in the work stoppage
(employer or union) is contacted to verify the duration and number of workers idled by the stoppage.
Days of idleness is calculated by multiplying the number of workers involved in the strike or lockout
by the number of days workers are off the job. The number of lost workdays for every major work
stoppage is based on a 5-day workweek (Monday through Friday), excluding Federal holidays.
Monthly major work stoppages data
The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles detailed monthly statistics on major work stoppages at
Detailed data for each major work stoppage since 1993 includes the organization involved, location,
beginning and ending work stoppage dates, the number of workers, and days idle.
Monthly time series data since 1981 have been published (data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ws) for the
* Number of work stoppages involving 1,000 workers or more beginning in the period
* Number of work stoppages involving 1,000 workers or more in effect in the period
* Number of workers involved in work stoppages beginning in the period
* Number of workers involved in work stoppages in effect in the period
* Days of idleness resulting from work stoppages in effect in the period
* Days of idleness resulting from work stoppages in effect in the period, as a percent of estimated
Major work stoppages detailed information and measures
For more information on Work Stoppages methods and measures, see “Chapter 8. National
Compensation Measures” of the BLS Handbook of Methods at: