Work Stoppages: Program History

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published two work stoppage series. The first ran from 1947 through 1981. The second began in 1982, but contains data starting with 1947. Both include administrative data collected through available news sources and verified by the parties where possible.

Under the first work stoppage program:

  • The Bureau reported all work stoppages in the United States that involved six workers or more and continued for the equivalent of a full day or shift or longer.
  • Information on the actual or probable existence of work stoppages was collected from a number of sources.
  • Clippings on labor disputes were obtained from a comprehensive coverage of daily and weekly newspapers throughout the country.
  • Information was also regularly received from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and state labor-related agencies.
  • Questionnaires were then sent to the parties who furnished the Bureau with information on a voluntary basis.
  • The data were compiled and published each year.
  • Because of budget reductions, the series was terminated in January 1982. Detailed statistical data were printed beginning in 1941 in the annual reports, commonly referred to as the "Analysis of Work Stoppage" bulletins. (The last bulletin, containing 1980 data, was published in March 1982.)

In February 1982, the Bureau initiated its major work stoppage series:

  • That series includes stoppages idling 1,000 workers or more for the equivalent of a full day or shift or longer.
  • Using data from the old series, the major work stoppage series was extended back to include data starting with 1947.


Last Modified Date: September 28, 2007