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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adjusted news release schedule; new Monthly Labor Review article and women’s earnings report

Following the partial government shutdown that occurred from October 1 to October 16, many BLS customers have asked our staff how the shutdown affected survey operations and how workers affected by the shutdown are classified in the household and establishment surveys that are featured in the monthly Employment Situation news release. We have put together a fact sheet to address the most common questions. The Employment Situation for October will be published Friday, November 8, 2013, at 8:30 A.M. Eastern Time. We also have updated our full schedule of news releases planned for the remainder of 2013 from all BLS programs.

BLS recently published a couple items that examine interesting demographic topics in the United States. A Monthly Labor Review article explored patterns in marriage and divorce among the younger portion of the baby boom generation. Eighty-seven percent of these baby boomers had married at least once by the time they reached age 46. Of those who had married, 45 percent had experienced at least one divorce. There were some notable differences in marriage and divorce patterns between men and women and among educational attainment and race-ethnicity groups. For example, men with at least a bachelor’s degree were more likely to have married by age 46 than were men with less education. Among women, the likelihood to marry varied little by educational attainment. For both men and women who had married, those with a bachelor’s degree were much less likely to have divorced than were those with less education. The authors analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which consists of people who were born in the years 1957 to 1964 and lived in the United States when the survey began in 1979. Survey participants were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994 and have been interviewed every 2 years since 1994. You may wonder why a BLS survey would include questions about marriage and divorce. The main focus of the survey is labor market activity, but the survey questions cover a broad range of topics to enable researchers at BLS and other organizations to understand the other aspects of people’s lives that affect, or are affected by, their labor market activity.

Another recent BLS publication examined women’s earnings in 2012. In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81 percent of the median earnings of men who were full-time wage and salary workers. In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned 62 percent of what men earned. Between 1979 and 2012, women’s-to-men’s earnings ratios rose for most age groups. Among 25- to 34-year-olds, for example, the ratio increased from 68 percent in 1979 to 90 percent in 2012. The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio for 45- to 54-year-olds increased from 57 percent to 75 percent.