Auto strikes to reduce US payrolls count in October -government report

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Strikes by members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union including against Detroit’s Big Three car manufacturers could subtract at least 29,000 jobs from U.S. nonfarm payrolls in October, government data showed on Friday.

The Labor Department’s monthly strike report showed 25,300 workers were idle at assembly plants owned by Ford Motor, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis nationwide during the October payrolls count period.

Another 4,000 UAW members were on strike at Mack Trucks plants in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania during the survey period in mid-October. About 1,100 other UAW members walked off the job at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Michigan during the same period.

It is not clear whether these workers who are in the direct life, health and medical insurance carrier industry were part of the broader industrial action by the UAW against the automakers.

Striking workers who do not receive a paycheck during the period that the government surveys business establishments for the employment report are treated as unemployed.

The UAW launched limited strikes on Sept. 15, which expanded in October. The work stoppages have disrupted supply chains, resulting in the three automakers furloughing and laying off thousands of non-striking workers.

The hit from the strike will likely come through a decline in manufacturing employment, where payrolls have been rising moderately. The government will publish its closely watched employment report for October next Friday.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 172,000 jobs last month. That would be a big step-down from the 336,000 jobs added in September, the most in eight months.

Still, job growth would more than exceed the roughly 100,000 positions needed per month to keep up with growth in the working age population, testament of the labor market’s resilience despite massive interest rates hikes from the Federal Reserve to cool demand in the economy.

Ford and the UAW reached a tentative deal this week. General Motors and the UAW were in intensive discussions on Friday to reach an agreement. Talks with Stellantis were scheduled to resume soon.

(This story has been refiled to add the word ‘including’ in paragraph 1)

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by David Gregorio)