Feb 21, 2024 - Economy

U.S. saw highest number of strikes since 2000

Data: BLS; Note: Data includes strikes and lockouts involving at least 1,000 workers; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: BLS; Note: Data includes strikes and lockouts involving at least 1,000 workers; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of strikes in the U.S. in 2023 was the highest in more than two decades, according to government data out Wednesday.

Why it matters: The strong labor market of the past few years emboldened workers and union organizers to take a harder line, pushing more folks to the picket line.

  • Strikes happened across a range of industries, but the vast majority happened in the service sector — think education and health care, two industries suffering from work shortages and post-pandemic burnout.

Reality check: These numbers are minuscule compared to the kind of activity last seen in the 20th century.

  • Back in 1981, as the generally anti-labor Reagan administration was getting underway, there were 145 strikes.

Go deeper: Forget the summer of strikes...2023 was a year of strikes

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