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Footnote: BLS strike data confirm no impact from GM strike for September Employment Situation

The BLS issues its report on strike activity during the survey reference period one week before the released of the Employment Situation. Typically it does not have implications for the Establishment Survey in that report.

For the four-week survey period of August 17-September 14, there was no net change in striking workers. A long-standing strike 1,700 workers at Charter Communications continued (begun March 28, 2017), no other strike were settled, and no other strikes initiated. For a strike to be active during a survey reference period, workers must have been “idle during the entire pay period which includes the 12th of the month”. That may vary depending on the company’s practices and whether a worker is hourly or salaried.

In any case, the UAW strike at GM affects nearly 50,000 workers, but did not start until midnight on Sunday, September 15, and therefore is not included in the survey. If it is settled and workers begin to receive paychecks again before October 12, it will not appear in the October Employment Situation either. However, if it lingers after October 12, then manufacturing payrolls will be reduced by the number of workers on strike. This will be a temporary effect as they will be added back in as soon as the strike is concluded.

Large strikes have become relatively rare in recent decades, and generally do not last more than a month or so.

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