WASHINGTON Labor strikes in the United States left 46,300 workers idle during the reference period for the government's August employment survey, the Labor Department said on Friday.
Almost all of those idle workers -- some 45,000 -- were due to a strike at Verizon Communications (VZ.N), the Labor Department said. The other 1,300 striking workers were in manufacturing.
The data could provide some clarity about the underlying strength of the U.S. labor market, and economists might use it to color their reading of the government's August payrolls report due on September 2. The idle workers could be seen by economists as a temporary factor holding back payroll growth during the month, and not a sign of underlying weakness in the labor market.
In July, the Labor Department did not report any idle workers due to labor strikes.
The number reflects workers who were not working during the entire pay period that included the 12th of the month, the Labor Department said.
About 45,000 Verizon employees went on strike on August 7 after talks for a new labor pact failed when their contract expired.
The strike ended when workers agreed to return to work on Monday and Tuesday.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Leslie Adler)