Employment and unemployment from age 18 to age 42

July 01, 2008

On average, individuals born from 1957 to 1964 (the later years of the "baby boom") were employed during 77 percent of all the weeks occurring from age 18 to age 42.

Percent of weeks individuals were employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force from age 18 to age 42 in 1978-2006
[Chart data—TXT]

They were unemployed—that is, without jobs but seeking work—5 percent of the weeks between ages 18 and 42. They were not in the labor force—that is, neither working nor seeking work—18 percent of those weeks.

Generally, men spent a larger percent of weeks employed than did women (84 versus 70 percent). Women spent much more time out of the labor force (25 percent of weeks) than did men (10 percent of weeks).

Between ages 18 and 42, blacks spent 68 percent of weeks employed, Hispanics or Latinos spent 71 percent and whites spent about 80 percent.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. For more information see "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results From a Longitudinal Survey," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-0860.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment and unemployment from age 18 to age 42 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/jun/wk5/art02.htm (visited September 30, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.