Idle Ballplayers, Out Of Work Vendors It Adds Up

The baseball strike is only days old at this writing and seems less than a blip on the economic radar screen. But economist Maury Harris of PaineWebber Inc. sees significant repercussions.

It's not simply the 1,000-plus baseball players on the 28 big league teams. Harris figures that at New York's Shea Stadium, there are 750 to 1,000 support personnel--vendors, security guards, ticket sellers, ushers, etc.--at each game. And that's just one stadium out of 28.

Further, notes Harris, with the $1.2 million average major league ballplayer's salary 60 times that of the average U.S. nonmanagement worker, "1,000 striking players could do as much damage to the personal-income statistics as 60,000 average workers out on strike."

Any effect on employment data won't show up unless the strike lasts into September, however. That's because the strike began at the end of the week of the August payroll survey, and anyone working at any time during that week is counted as employed.

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