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Today's Labor Force - Work Stoppages (strikes)

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According to the BLS in Major Work Stoppages in 2005 (March 2, 2006), the number of work stoppages (strikes) involving 1,000 or more workers has decreased dramatically since the 1980s. In 1974, 424 work stoppages resulted in 31.8 million days idle. (This figure is calculated by multiplying the number of workers times the number of days they were on strike.) For most of the remainder of the 1970s, there were about 200 to 300 work stoppages per year.

This changed significantly during the 1980s. The last year for which more than 100 work stoppages were counted was 1981, when 729,000 workers were idle 16.9 million days during 145 strikes. The BLS reported that the number of work stoppages fell to only forty in 1988, rising slightly to forty-four in 1990, with 185,000 workers idle for 5.9 million days. There were only seventeen strikes in 1999, affecting 73,000 workers, the lowest numbers up to that time since the government began keeping records on strikes in 1947. The early 2000s have seen continued low numbers of work stoppages. Major Work Stoppages in 2005 reported fourteen work stoppages in 2003 that affected 129,000 workers and resulted in 4.1 million lost days. In 2004, 3.3 million idle days resulted from seventeen work stoppages affecting 171,000 workers, and in 2005 twenty-two work stoppages involved 100,000 workers and resulted in 1.7 million idle days. The BLS figures do not distinguish between worker-initiated strikes and stoppages that result from employer-initiated lockouts.

TABLE 1.17 Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail, selected months, 2004–05

TABLE 1.17
Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail, selected months, 2004–05
[In thousands]
Industry Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Dec. 2004 Oct. 2005 Nov. 2005p Dec. 2005p Dec. 2004 Aug. 2005 Sept. 2005 Oct. 2005 Nov. 2005p Dec. 2005p Change from: Nov. 2005–Dec. 2005p
    Total nonfarm 133,187 134,999 135,461 135,188 132,449 134,013 134,030 134,055 134,360 134,468 108
    Total private 111,143 112,826 113,141 112,944 110,749 112,164 112,174 112,205 112,486 112,580 94
Goods-producing 21,924 22,456 22,400 22,162 22,022 22,159 22,164 22,197 22,250 22,262 12
Natural resources and mining 602 650 648 646 602 632 636 641 644 647 3
         Logging 68.0 67.0 64.7 65.4 67.9 64.9 64.2 63.7 63.1 64.5 1.4
    Mining 533.8 583.1 583.5 580.8 534.4 566.7 571.4 577.4 581.3 582.5 1.2
         Oil and gas extraction 124.0 127.6 128.6 127.2 124.1 126.5 127.0 128.0 128.9 127.5 −1.4
         Mining, except oil and gasa 209.3 225.8 224.2 217.6 211.3 220.3 220.2 222.0 220.1 220.4 −1.7
             Coal mining 74.5 79.2 79.2 81.1 73.9 77.6 78.5 79.3 79.1 80.2 1.1
         Support activities for mining 200.5 229.7 230.7 236.0 199.0 219.9 224.2 227.4 230.3 234.6 4.3
Construction 6,984 7,523 7,467 7,219 7,086 7,267 7,284 7,299 7,341 7,332 −9
    Construction of buildings 1,669.6 1,744.0 1,740.6 1,731.6 1,678.9 1,705.4 1,704.5 1,715.0 1,726.5 1,738.3 11.8
        Residential building 920.8 963.2 964.8 963.5 927.4 947.3 949.1 952.7 960.3 968.9 8.6
        Nonresidential building 748.8 780.8 775.8 768.1 751.5 758.1 755.4 762.3 766.2 769.4 3.2
    Heavy and civil engineering construction 871.8 1,003.3 988.0 910.4 907.8 939.0 947.0 941.1 954.9 946.3 −8.6
    Specialty trade contractors 4,442.8 4,775.2 4,738.4 4,576.9 4,499.2 4,622.5 4,632.3 4,642.8 4,659.6 4,647.7 −11.9
        Residential specialty trade contractors 2,110.0 2,301.0 2,282.0 2,213.4 2,125.5 2,206.0 2,219.9 2,235.3 2,243.3 2,239.5 −3.8
        Nonresidential specialty trade contractors 2,332.8 2,474.2 2,456.2 2,363.3 2,373.7 2,416.5 2,412.4 2,407.5 2,416.3 2,408.2 −8.1
Manufacturing 14,338 14,283 14,285 14,297 14,334 14,260 14,244 14,257 14,265 14,283 18
        Production workers 10,102 10,147 10,169 10,177 10,097 10,086 10,089 10,113 10,140 10,161 21
    Durable goods 8,968 8,957 8,969 8,988 8,957 8,945 8,934 8,954 8,958 8,973 15
        Production workers 6,180 6,258 6,287 6,313 6,170 6,215 6,216 6,251 6,273 6,297 24
        Wood products 551.0 550.9 550.0 551.0 555.2 549.7 549.8 549.9 549.6 553.8 4.2
        Nonmetallic mineral products 503.6 507.1 505.3 494.5 506.5 499.8 499.5 498.9 499.3 497.9 −1.4
        Primary metals 467.6 467.4 468.8 472.7 465.2 465.3 467.0 468.4 469.6 470.4 .8
        Fabricated metal products 1,514.0 1,525.9 1,530.1 1,535.6 1,512.8 1,523.2 1,523.8 1,524.0 1,529.2 1,534.2 5.0
        Machinery 1,149.8 1,165.9 1,162.8 1,165.9 1,146.0 1,159.5 1,160.3 1,168.8 1,162.5 1,161.5 −1.0
        Computer and electronic productsa 1,326.4 1,333.6 1,335.4 1,341.3 1,325.8 1,334.2 1,334.9 1,335.7 1,337.4 1,340.9 3.5
          Computer and peripheral equipment 210.1 213.7 213.0 216.0 210.4 214.7 214.8 215.0 214.0 216.1 2.1
          Communications equipment 152.4 155.2 155.4 155.8 153.7 153.5 154.6 155.0 155.9 156.7 .8
          Semiconductors and electronic components 448.4 446.3 446.9 449.6 448.0 447.7 448.1 447.4 447.9 449.6 1.7
          Electronic instruments 437.3 442.3 444.2 444.1 435.7 441.1 441.6 442.8 444.1 442.9 −1.2
        Electrical equipment and appliances 446.7 435.9 437.9 438.0 445.8 439.1 437.8 437.6 437.9 437.2 −.7
        Transportation equipmenta 1,780.2 1,758.8 1,764.6 1,772.5 1,771.9 1,760.3 1,746.9 1,760.4 1,760.6 1,763.3 2.7
          Motor vehicles and partsb 1,111.3 1,007.1 1,078.7 1,079.1 1,104.0 1,076.0 1,087.0 1,077.0 1,075.0 1,071.7 −3.3
          Furniture and related products 571.3 557.3 554.9 558.4 571.7 559.1 558.8 558.4 555.8 558.0 2.2
          Miscellaneous manufacturing 657.7 654.1 658.8 657.9 656.4 654.9 654.9 653.4 655.8 655.4 −.4
   Nondurable goods 5,370 5,326 5,316 5,309 5,377 5,315 5,310 5,303 5,307 5,310 3
          Production workers 3,922 3,889 3,882 3,864 3,927 3,871 3,873 3,862 3,867 3,864 −3
        Food manufacturing 1,497.8 1,496.8 1,484.2 1,482.7 1,498.8 1,482.5 1,478.0 1,475.2 1,476.8 1,478.8 2.0
        Beverages and tobacco products 192.4 194.4 191.3 190.7 193.0 189.8 190.1 191.2 190.6 191.0 .4
        Textile mills 232.3 218.3 216.3 214.3 233.2 221.1 219.4 218.1 216.5 215.2 −1.3
        Textile product mills 176.0 179.7 182.1 183.8 178.0 178.2 179.9 181.3 182.8 184.7 1.9
        Apparel 269.1 250.6 253.5 250.9 271.9 255.0 253.2 250.6 253.0 252.7 −.3
        Leather and allied products 42.9 43.2 43.5 44.7 43.1 43.4 43.3 43.8 44.0 44.6 .6
        Paper and paper products 499.3 490.3 489.5 486.8 497.9 494.7 492.3 489.6 488.3 485.8 −2.5
        Printing and related support activities 663.5 653.9 657.8 658.3 660.8 652.2 654.0 653.5 655.7 655.2 −.5
        Petroleum and coal products 111.6 117.8 115.8 112.5 113.8 117.2 116.5 116.5 115.9 115.2 −.7
        Chemicals 880.0 877.7 877.6 882.5 880.5 877.6 880.5 880.4 879.9 882.9 3.0
        Plastics and rubber products 805.2 803.6 804.1 802.0 806.2 802.9 802.9 802.6 803.4 803.4 .0
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