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Verizon Strike Is Hitting U.S. Payroll Numbers In A Big Way

May 27, 2016, 4:49 PM UTC
Striking Verizon workers on a picket line
Aaron Pressman

The strike by Verizon Communications workers will likely trim U.S. nonfarm payroll growth in May by at least 35,000 jobs, a Labor Department report showed on Friday.

The department’s monthly strike report showed a total of 35,100 Verizon employees were idle during the survey period for the May payrolls count. Striking workers who do not receive a paycheck during the reference period are treated as unemployed.

The Verizon (VZ) workers, including network technicians and customer service representatives in the company’s Fios Internet, telephone and television services unit, walked off the job on April 13 in the largest U.S. strike in recent years. The work-stoppage is ongoing.

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The Labor Department will publish its closely watched employment report on June 3.

Economists polled by Reuters expect payrolls increased by 164,000 workers this month after rising 160,000 in April. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 5%.