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Economic News Release
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Major Work Stoppages (Annual) News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, February 23, 2022	                                    USDL-22-0316

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

                                   MAJOR WORK STOPPAGES IN 2021

In 2021, there were 16 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.  

The lowest annual total of major work stoppages was 5 in 2009 and the highest was 470 in 1952. Between the 
years 2000-2021, there have been an average of 17 work stoppages beginning in the year.

There were 80,700 workers involved in major work stoppages that began in 2021. Service-providing industries 
accounted for 76 percent of idled workers over the year or 61,000 workers. Within service-providing industries,
the education and health services sector accounted for the idling of 52,600 workers; 45,400 health care and 
social assistance workers and 7,200 educational services workers were idled as a result of major work stoppages.  

In 2021, goods-producing industries accounted for 24 percent of idled workers or 19,700 workers. Within 
goods-producing industries, the manufacturing sector accounted for the idling of the majority of workers 
involved in work stoppages; 16,600 manufacturing workers were involved in major work stoppages in 2021. 

In 2021, there was one local government work stoppage, where 2,000 workers were idled 11 days resulting in 
22,000 days of idleness. In private industry, 78,700 workers were idled beginning in the year, 
resulting in 1,081,700 cumulative days of idleness. 

                                            TECHNICAL NOTE

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on major (1,000 workers or more) work stoppages 
in the United States, excluding U.S. territories. Because of the complexity of most labor-management 
disputes, the Work Stoppages program makes no attempt to distinguish between strikes and lockouts in 
its statistics. The workers involved in a strike or lockout may or may not be members of a union. 

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. This number does not account for secondary 
idleness - that is, the effects of a stoppage on other establishments or industries whose 
employees may be made idle as a result of shortages of material or services. 

A day of idleness is a day that an employee is scheduled to work (Monday through Friday, excluding 
federal holidays) but does not work due to a work stoppage. The number of total days of idleness 
is computed by multiplying the number of workers idled by the number of lost workdays 
during the reference month.

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 

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals 
by dialing 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. 

Last Modified Date: February 23, 2022