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Economic News Release
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Major Work Stoppages (Annual) News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Friday, February 19, 2021	                                    USDL-21-0280

Technical information:	(202) 691-6199
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902

                                   MAJOR WORK STOPPAGES IN 2020

(NOTE: This news release was reissued on March 1, 2021, adding 1 work stoppage in 2020. 
Additional information is available at

In 2020, there were 8 major work stoppages beginning in the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
reported today. A major work stoppage involves 1,000 or more workers and lasts at least one shift 
during the work week, Monday through Friday excluding Federal holidays. This year had the third 
lowest number of major work stoppages since the series began in 1947. The lowest annual total was 5 
in 2009, followed by 7 in 2017. For the past 20 years, on average, there have been 16 work stoppages 
beginning in the year.

There were 27,000 workers involved in major work stoppages that began in 2020. The education and 
health services industry supersector accounted for over 75 percent of idled workers. Within these 
sectors, 21,700 workers were idled for 26 cumulative days. In 2017, 25,300 workers were idled and the 
information sector accounted for the majority of idled workers at 15,000 workers. In 2009, 12,500 
workers were idled with almost half of the idled workers coming from one stoppage in the transportation
and warehousing sector.

State and local government accounted for 6 of the 8 work stoppages in 2020, compared to the 3 stoppages 
in both 2009 and 2017.

In 2020, 14,900 state and local government workers were idled for 25 workdays resulting in a total of
69,100 days of idleness.  

Data Correction 
The BLS has issued a correction to work stoppage data from February 2018 to December 2020. 
Additional information is available at

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on the 2020 Major Work Stoppages
Data collection for Major Work Stoppages was not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Additional information is available at

                                            TECHNICAL NOTE

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on major (1,000 workers or more) work stoppages in 
the United States. The number of workers includes those idled for one shift or longer in the 
establishment(s) directly involved in the dispute as well as those in the establishment idled for 
related reasons, such as their facility is closed down during the stoppage. An attempt is made to 
contact the parties involved in the work stoppage (employer, employer group, and union) to determine 
whether the duration and number of workers idled by the stoppage meet the thresholds for inclusion in 
this report. For additional information on the concepts, data sources, design, measures, and history of 
the work stoppages program, see

Detailed monthly work stoppage data since 1993 are available at and includes organizations involved, location, beginning and 
ending dates, industry, ownership, the number of workers, and total days of idleness.

Annual historical major work stoppages data from 1947 to present, including the number of work 
stoppages, workers idled, and total days of idleness, are available at 

Historical Bureau of Labor Statistics work stoppages publications are available from 1936 to 1979 

The latest Union Members report is available at 

Last Modified Date: March 01, 2021