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Economic News Release
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Americans at Age 33: Labor Market Activity, Education and Partner Status Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, May 5, 2020		     USDL-20-0813

Technical information:	nls_info@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/nls 
Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


	 LABOR MARKET ACTIVITY, EDUCATION, AND PARTNER STATUS AMONG
          AMERICANS AT AGE 33: RESULTS FROM A LONGITUDINAL SURVEY


Americans born in the early 1980s held an average of 8.2 jobs from age 18
through age 32, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These
young adults held more jobs at younger ages: they held an average of 4.5
jobs from ages 18 to 22 compared with 2.3 jobs from ages 28 to 32. While
aged 18 to 32, women with more education held more jobs than women with
less education. Regardless of education, men held a similar number of jobs.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, a
nationally representative survey of about 9,000 men and women who were born
during the years 1980 to 1984. These respondents were ages 12 to 17 when
first interviewed in 1997 and ages 32 to 38 when interviewed for the 18th
time in 2017-18. The survey provides information on work and non-work
experiences, training, schooling, income, assets, and other characteristics.
The information provided by respondents is representative of all men and 
women born in the early 1980s and living in the United States when the
survey began in 1997.

This release focuses on the educational attainment, employment experiences,
and partner status of these individuals from their 18th birthday until
they turned 33. Highlights from the longitudinal survey among this group
include:

   --At their 25th birthday, 29 percent of women had received a bachelor's
     degree and higher, compared with 22 percent of men. By their 33rd
     birthday, 37 percent of women held a bachelor's degree and higher,
     compared with 30 percent of men. Seventy-five percent of women had
     at least attended some college by age 33 compared with 66 percent
     of men. (See table 1.)

   --Individuals held an average of 8.2 jobs from ages 18 through 32,
     with over half of these jobs being held between the ages of 18 and
     22. (See table 2.)

   --Among individuals who started jobs while ages 18 to 24, the average
     individual had 57 percent of their jobs end in less than a year,
     compared with an average of 37 percent among those who started jobs
     while ages 25 to 32. In this older age range, job duration is
     significantly longer for those with more education. Among individuals
     with less than a high school education who started jobs while ages
     25 to 32, the average individual had 53 percent of their jobs end 
     in less than a year, compared with 29 percent among those with a
     bachelor's degree and higher. (See table 3.)

   --Women with less than a high school diploma were employed an average
     of 39 percent of weeks from ages 18 to 32, while men with less than
     a high school diploma were employed 64 percent of weeks. Among 
     individuals with a bachelor's degree and higher, both women and men
     were employed an average of 81 percent of weeks. (See table 4.)

   --Individuals were employed for an average of 75 percent of weeks
     from ages 18 to 32. This varied across age brackets: from ages 
     18 to 22 individuals were employed 68 percent of weeks, from ages
     23 to 27 and from ages 28 to 32 individuals were employed 78 percent
     of weeks. (See table 5.)

   --At the time of their 33rd birthday, 50 percent of individuals were
     married, 17 percent were cohabiting, and 33 percent were single.
     The percent of individuals who were married varied by education;
     those with higher levels of education were more likely to be married
     and less likely to be cohabiting than those with lower levels of
     education. (See table 6.)

   --Men who were single at age 33 were employed 71 percent of the
     weeks from ages 18 to 32, compared with 84 percent for those who
     were married and 77 percent for those who were cohabiting. The 
     percentage of weeks employed varied less by partner status for
     women; women who were single at age 33 were employed 69 percent
     of the weeks from ages 18 to 32, compared with 73 percent for
     those who were married and 71 percent for those who were cohabiting.
     (See table 7.)

Educational Attainment at Age 33

At 33 years of age, 33 percent of individuals had received a bachelor's
degree and higher while 37 percent had attended some college or received
an associate degree. Twenty-three percent had a high school diploma or
General Education Development (GED) credential and no further schooling.
(See table 1.)

Women were more likely than men to have received a bachelor's degree
by age 25, and this gap did not decrease by age 33. Twenty-two percent
of men had earned a bachelor's degree by age 25, compared with 29 percent
of women. By 33 years of age, 30 percent of men had earned a bachelor's
degree compared to 37 percent of women. In total, 66 percent of men had
either attended some college or received a bachelor's degree, compared with
75 percent of women. In addition to being more likely to attend college,
women were more likely to have finished their college degree. Of the 75
percent of women who started college, nearly 50 percent received a 
bachelor's degree by age 33. In comparison, of the 66 percent of men who
started college, 45 percent had received a bachelor's degree.

At age 33, there was a large difference in educational attainment among
racial and ethnic groups. Blacks and Hispanics or Latinos were more
likely than Whites to have dropped out of high school. In comparison,
Whites were more likely to have ever attended college (73 percent of 
Whites, compared to 63 percent of Blacks and 62 percent of Hispanics or
Latinos) and nearly twice as likely to have received a bachelor's degree
by this age. Thirty-eight percent of Whites had received a bachelor's 
degree at age 33, compared with 20 percent of both Blacks and Hispanics
or Latinos.

Within each racial and ethnic group examined at age 33, women were more
likely to have a bachelor's degree than men. White women were more likely
than White men to have received a bachelor's degree (42 percent compared
with 34 percent), Black women were more likely than Black men (25 percent
compared with 15 percent), and Hispanic or Latino women were more likely
than Hispanic or Latino men (22 percent compared with 18 percent) to
have received a bachelor's degree.

Employment Experiences from Age 18 through Age 32

Americans born in 1980-84 held an average of 8.2 jobs from ages 18 through
32, with over half of these jobs held from ages 18 to 22. Men held an
average of 8.1 jobs and women held an average of 8.3 jobs. Women at higher
levels of educational attainment held more jobs than women at lower levels.
Women with a bachelor's degree held 8.8 jobs from ages 18 through 32,
compared with 6.5 jobs for female high school dropouts. Men held a similar
number of jobs regardless of their level of educational attainment. (See
table 2.) A job is defined as a period of work, including gaps, with a
particular employer. (See the Technical Note for additional information 
on the definition of a job.)

Examining employment experiences by smaller age brackets shows individuals
held fewer jobs in each subsequent age bracket. Individuals held an average 
of 4.5 jobs in the 5-year period from ages 18 to 22. The number of jobs
individuals held dropped to 3.3 jobs in the 5-year period from ages 23 to
27, and then dropped further to 2.3 jobs in the 5-year period from ages 28
to 32. The pattern of individuals holding fewer jobs as they aged was similar
across all sexes, racial and ethnic groups, and levels of educational
attainment.

Duration of Employment Relationships

The length of time a worker remains with an employer increased with the
age at which the worker began the job. Of the jobs began between ages 18
to 24, the average worker had 57 percent of jobs end in less than a year
and 90 percent of jobs end in less than 6 years. Among jobs began when 25
to 32 years old, the average worker had 37 percent of jobs end in less than
a year and 73 percent end in less than 6 years.

Job duration is also related to education. Sixty-five percent of the jobs 
the average high school dropout started while age 18 to 24 ended within a
year, compared with 55 percent of jobs started at those ages by the average
individual with a bachelor's degree. (See table 3.)

Among individuals with less than a high school diploma who started jobs
when they were 25 to 32 years of age, the average individual had 53 percent
of these jobs end in less than a year and 85 percent end in less than 6
years. In comparison, for the average individuals with a bachelor's degree
who started jobs at those ages, 29 percent of the jobs ended in under 1 year
and only 67 percent ended in less than 6 years.

Percent of Weeks Employed, Unemployed, and Not in the Labor Force

On average, individuals born in 1980-84 were employed during 75 percent
of all the weeks from age 18 through age 32, unemployed--that is, without
a job but seeking work--6 percent of the weeks, and not in the labor force--
that is, neither working nor seeking work--19 percent of the weeks. (See
table 4.)

As a whole, individuals with higher levels of educational attainment were
employed for a higher percentage of weeks and unemployed for a lower
percentage of weeks than individuals with lower levels of education. The
percentage of weeks not in the labor force decreased with increases in
educational attainment.

Men were more active in the labor market than women from ages 18 to 32. As
a whole, they spent less time not in the labor force than women (16 percent
compared with 23 percent) and more time employed (78 percent compared with
72 percent). This relationship held at all levels of educational attainment
except among those with a bachelor's degree. Women with a bachelor's degree
and higher spent the same proportion of weeks employed as similarly educated
men (81 percent) and the same time not in the labor force (16 percent).

Employment gaps existed between racial and ethnic groups. On average, Whites
were employed during 77 percent of the weeks that occurred from age 18
through age 32, Hispanics or Latinos were employed during 74 percent of
the weeks, and Blacks were employed during 66 percent of the weeks.

The employment gap between Whites and Blacks is more pronounced at lower
levels of educational attainment. White high school dropouts spent 56 percent
of weeks employed from ages 18 through 32, while Black dropouts spent 37
percent of weeks employed during these ages.

The gap is smaller among those who held a bachelor's degree. White college
graduates spent 82 percent of weeks employed, while Black college graduates
spent 79 percent of weeks employed.

The employment gap between Hispanics or Latinos and Blacks is also more
pronounced at lower levels of educational attainment. Hispanic or Latino
dropouts spent 57 percent of weeks employed from ages 18 through 32, while
Black dropouts spent 37 percent of weeks employed during these ages.
Hispanic or Latino and Black college graduates spent a similar percentage
of weeks employed (80 percent compared with 79 percent).

Individuals spent 68 percent of weeks employed from ages 18 to 22, 78
percent of weeks employed from ages 23 to 27, and 78 percent of weeks
employed from ages 28 to 32. Men spent a higher percentage of weeks employed 
in each subsequent age bracket, but this was not the case for women. Men
spent 69 percent of weeks employed from ages 18 to 22; this increased to
81 percent of weeks from ages 23 to 27 and then increased slightly to 83
percent from ages 28 to 32. Women spent 68 percent of weeks employed
from ages 18 to 22; this increased to 75 percent of weeks from ages 23
to 27, but decreased slightly to 73 percent from ages 28 to 32. Men were
employed a higher percentage of weeks than women within all age brackets.
(See table 5.)

The employment gap between racial and ethnic groups also existed within
each age bracket analyzed. Within all age brackets, Whites were employed
a higher percentage of weeks than both Blacks and Hispanics or Latinos,
and Hispanics or Latinos were employed a higher percentage of weeks than
Blacks.

As these individuals aged, they generally spent less time out of the labor
force. Men spent 24 percent of weeks not in the labor force from 18 to 22
years of age, 12 percent of weeks from ages 23 to 27, and 11 percent from
ages 28 to 32. Women spent 27 percent of weeks out of the labor force from
ages 18 to 22, and 20 percent and 22 percent of weeks out of the labor
force at ages 23 to 27 and ages 28 to 32, respectively. At older ages,
women were nearly twice as likely as men to not be in the labor force.

Partner Status and Employment Experiences

At 25 years of age, 27 percent of Americans born during 1980-84 were
married, 20 percent were cohabiting (unmarried and living with a partner),
and 52 percent were single (not married and not living with a partner). 
Comparatively, at 33 years of age, 50 percent were married, 17 percent 
were cohabiting, and 33 percent were single. (See table 6.)

At age 33, those with higher levels of education were more likely to be
married and less likely to be cohabiting than those with lower levels of
education. At the time of their 33rd birthday, 32 percent of high school
dropouts, 42 percent of high school graduates with no college, 49 percent
of individuals with some college or an associate degree, and 60 percent of
college graduates were married. Twenty-eight percent of those with less
than a high school diploma were cohabiting, compared with only 13 percent
of those with a bachelor's degree and higher.

Partner status varied greatly by race and ethnicity. Blacks were more likely
to be single than either Whites or Hispanics or Latinos. At 33 years of
age, 56 percent of Blacks were single, compared with 27 percent of Whites
and 36 percent of Hispanics or Latinos. Blacks were also significantly less
likely to be married than either Whites or Hispanics or Latinos (30 percent
compared with 56 percent and 45 percent, respectively).

At both ages 25 and 33, women were significantly more likely to be married
and less likely to be single than men. By their 33rd birthday, 53 percent
of women were married, 30 percent were single, and 17 percent were cohabiting,
while 46 percent of men were married, 36 percent were single, and 18 percent
were cohabiting. Women were also more likely to be married than men at each
level of educational attainment.

Compared with individuals who were single at age 33, those who were married
worked more weeks from ages 18 to 32, spent fewer weeks unemployed, and
spent fewer weeks not in the labor force. From ages 18 to 32, single
individuals spent 70 percent of weeks employed, 8 percent of weeks unemployed,
and 22 percent of weeks not in the labor force, while those who were married
spent 78 percent of weeks employed, 4 percent of weeks unemployed, and 18
percent of weeks not in the labor force. Cohabiting individuals spent 74
percent of weeks employed, 7 percent of weeks unemployed, and 19 percent of
weeks not in the labor force. (See table 7.)

Men accounted for most of the variation in employment experiences by partner
status. Married men worked more weeks, were unemployed fewer weeks, and were
less likely to be not in the labor force than either single or cohabiting men.
Married men spent 84 percent of weeks employed, compared with 71 percent for
single men and 77 percent for cohabiting men. They spent 5 percent of weeks
unemployed, compared with 8 percent for both single men cohabiting men.
Married men spent 12 percent of weeks out of the labor force, compared with
21 percent for single men and 15 percent for cohabiting men. In contrast,
there were limited differences in the employment experiences of women by 
partner status. Married women were employed a slightly higher percentage 
of weeks than non-married women (73 percent compared with 69 percent for 
single women and 71 percent for cohabiting women) and were unemployed a
lower percentage of weeks than either single or cohabiting women (4 percent
compared with 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively).

Married individuals also worked more weeks than single individuals within
racial and ethnic groups. Married Whites spent a higher percentage of weeks
employed than single Whites (79 percent compared with 73 percent), married
Blacks spent a higher percentage of weeks employed than single Blacks (72
percent compared with 63 percent), and married Hispanics or Latinos spent
a higher percentage of weeks employed than single Hispanics or Latinos
(76 percent compared with 72 percent).



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Last Modified Date: May 05, 2020