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February 1984, Vol. 107, No. 2
Unemployment in 1982: the cost
to workers and their families
Joblessness reached a postwar high in 1982. On "average," 10.7 million persons were unemployed during the year, 9.7 percent of the labor force. By the end of the year, when the economy finally ended its deep recessionary slide, unemployment had risen even higher, with the number of jobless persons (seasonally adjusted) reaching 12.0 million in December and with the rate of joblessness peaking at 10.8 percent.
What these numbers, based on data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS),1 do not really tell us is how many different persons among the entire population encountered unemployment during the course of the year, how long they were unemployed, how many weeks they still managed to work, and how their earnings and family income compared with those of workers who remained free of unemployment. For this additional information on the "pervasiveness" of unemployment and for a glance at its impact on the economic well-being of American workers, we must turn to special data from the "work experience" survey.
This excerpt is from an article published in the February 1984 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The Current Population Survey is a monthly household survey conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the primary purpose of determining the extent of employment and unemployment among the American population. The sample of households has been 60,000 in recent years.
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Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
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