Employment Characteristics of Families Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 18, 2019 	             USDL-19-0666

Technical information:	(202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES -- 2018


In 2018, 5.2 percent of families included an unemployed person, down
from 5.8 percent in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Of the nation's 82.5 million families, 80.8 percent had at least
one employed member in 2018.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are
collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly
survey of about 60,000 households. Data in this release are annual
averages. Families are classified either as married-couple families or
as families maintained by women or men without spouses present. Unless
otherwise noted, families include those with and without children under
age 18. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news
release.

Families and Unemployment

The number of families with at least one member unemployed decreased
by 444,000 to 4.3 million in 2018. The proportion of families with
an unemployed person declined by 0.6 percentage point to 5.2 percent.
(This is the lowest proportion since 1994, the first year for which
comparable data are available.) In 2018, this proportion was down for
White (4.7 percent), Black (8.4 percent), Asian (4.7 percent) and 
Hispanic (7.0 percent) families. Black and Hispanic families remained
more likely to have an unemployed member than White or Asian families.
(See table 1.) 

Seventy percent of families with an unemployed member also had at least
one family member who was employed in 2018, up from 69.1 percent in the
prior year. The proportion of families with an unemployed member that
had at least one family member working full time grew to 61.3 percent
in 2018. 

Among families with an unemployed member, Black families remained less
likely to also have at least one family member who was working (60.3
percent) than White (71.8 percent), Asian (84.5 percent), and Hispanic
(71.5 percent) families. However, the likelihood of Black families with
an unemployed member also having an employed family member did increase
from 58.1 percent in 2017 to 60.3 percent in 2018. (See table 1.)

In 2018, 4.2 percent of married-couple families had an unemployed member,
less than the corresponding percentages of families maintained by women
or families maintained by men (8.0 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively).
Among families with an unemployed family member, those maintained by women
were less likely to also have an employed family member (51.4 percent)
than families maintained by men and married-couple families (56.2 percent
and 82.1 percent, respectively). (See tables 2 and 3.)

Families and Employment

In 2018, 80.8 percent of families had at least one employed family member,
up from 80.5 percent in the prior year. From 2017 to 2018, the likelihood
of having an employed family member increased among White (80.4 percent),
Black (79.3 percent), and Hispanic (87.5 percent) families. The percentage
of Asian families having at least one family member employed (88.3 percent)
was little different from the prior year. (See table 1.)

In 2018, families maintained by women remained less likely to have an
employed member (77.7 percent) than families maintained by men (84.3 percent)
or married-couple families (81.2 percent). Among married-couple families,
both the husband and wife were employed in 48.8 percent of families; in
19.1 percent of married-couple families only the husband was employed, and
in 6.8 percent only the wife was employed. (See table 2.)

Families with Children

In 2018, 33.6 million families included children under age 18, about two-
fifths of all families. (Children are sons, daughters, step-children, or
adopted children living in the household who are under age 18. Not included
are nieces, nephews, grandchildren, other related and unrelated children,
and children not living in the household.) At least one parent was employed
in 90.8 percent of families with children, an increase of 0.6 percentage
point from the previous year. Among married-couple families with children,
97.4 percent had at least one employed parent, and 63.0 percent had both
parents employed. Among families maintained by fathers, 84.2 percent of
fathers were employed in 2018, a greater share than the 74.1 percent of
employed mothers in families maintained by mothers. (See tables 1 and 4.)

Parents

The labor force participation rate--the percent of the population working or
looking for work--for all women with children under age 18 was 71.5 percent
in 2018, up from 71.1 percent in the prior year. Married mothers remained
less likely to participate in the labor force, at 69.0 percent, than mothers
with other marital statuses, at 76.7 percent. (Other marital status includes
persons who are never married; widowed; divorced; separated; and married,
spouse absent; as well as persons in same-sex marriages.) The unemployment
rate for married mothers was also considerably lower than for mothers with
other marital statuses--2.5 percent, compared with 6.4 percent. (See table 5.) 

Mothers with young children are less likely to be in the labor force than
those with older children. In 2018, the labor force participation rate of 
mothers with children under age 6, at 65.1 percent, was lower than the rate
of those whose youngest child was age 6 to 17, at 76.4 percent. Among mothers
with children under age 3, the participation rate of married mothers was
lower than the rate of mothers with other marital statuses--59.6 percent
versus 67.2 percent. The unemployment rate of mothers who were married and
had children under age 3, at 2.6 percent, was substantially lower than the
rate for their counterparts with other marital statuses, at 8.7 percent.
(See tables 5 and 6.)

The labor force participation rate for all fathers with children under age
18 rose to 93.3 percent in 2018. The participation rate for married fathers,
at 94.1 percent, continued to be higher than the rate of fathers with other
marital statuses (88.4 percent). Married fathers also continued to have a
lower unemployment rate (1.9 percent) than fathers with other marital statuses
(5.7 percent). (See table 5.)

Employed fathers remained more likely to work full time than employed mothers
in 2018; 96 percent of employed fathers worked full time, compared with 78
percent of employed mothers. Among employed mothers, those with older children
were more likely to work full time than those with younger children. In 2018,
80 percent of employed mothers with children ages 6 to 17 worked full time,
compared with 75 percent of mothers with children under age 6. Employed fathers
with younger and older children were about equally likely to work full time.
(See table 5.)



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Last Modified Date: April 18, 2019