Work Experience of the Population (Annual) News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 9, 2016                        USDL-16-2256

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


                        WORK EXPERIENCE OF THE POPULATION -- 2015


A total of 162.3 million persons worked at some point during 2015, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. The proportion of the civilian noninstitutional
population age 16 and over who worked at some time during 2015 rose to 64.2 percent,
up from 63.6 percent in 2014. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment
during 2015 declined by 783,000 to 16.9 million.

These data are based on information collected in the Annual Social and Economic
Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey
conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ASEC
collects information on employment and unemployment experienced during the prior
calendar year. Additional information about the CPS and the ASEC, including concepts 
and definitions, is provided in the Technical Note.

Highlights from the 2015 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2015 was 68.0
     percent, about unchanged from the prior year. (See table 1.)

   --The "work-experience unemployment rate"--defined as the number of persons
     unemployed at some time during the year as a proportion of the number of
     persons who worked or looked for work during the year--declined by 0.7
     percentage point to 10.2 percent in 2015. (See table 3.)

   --About 3.2 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in
     2015, down from 3.7 million in 2014. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.2 percent of the population worked in 2015, up from 63.6 percent in 2014.
The proportions of both men and women who worked at some point during 2015 increased
to 70.0 percent and 58.8 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

The proportions of Whites (64.9 percent) and Hispanics (65.5 percent) who worked at
some time during 2015 increased from 2014, while the shares of Blacks (60.6 percent)
and Asians (64.0 percent) changed little. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2015, 79.6 percent usually worked full time,
unchanged from a year earlier. In 2015, men (85.6 percent) continued to be more
likely than women (73.0 percent) to work full time during the year. These proportions
were little changed from the prior year. (See table 1.)

Of the total who worked during 2015, 78.6 percent were employed year round (working
50 to 52 weeks, either full or part time), about unchanged from a year earlier. In
2015, the percentages of men (80.9 percent) and women (76.0 percent) working year
round were about unchanged.

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 165.5 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2015, up by
2.7 million from the prior year. Of those, 16.9 million experienced some unemployment
during 2015, down by 783,000 from 2014. (See table 3.)

The work-experience unemployment rate (those looking for work during the year as a
percent of those who worked or looked for work during the year) continued to decline.
At 10.2 percent in 2015, the work-experience unemployment rate was 0.7 percentage
point lower than in 2014. The work-experience unemployment rates for Whites (9.5
percent), Asians (7.3 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent) declined from 2014 to
2015, while the rate for Blacks (15.0 percent) changed little. (See tables 3 and 4.)

In 2015, men continued to have a higher work-experience unemployment rate than women,
10.4 percent versus 10.0 percent. Among Whites and Blacks, the rates for men were
higher than the rates for women. Among Asians, the rate for women was higher than the
rate for men, while the rates for Hispanic men and women were little different from
each other.

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2015, the median number of weeks spent
looking for work was 14.7. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not work
at all in 2015 declined by 534,000 over the year to 3.2 million. Of the 13.8 million
individuals who worked during 2015 and also experienced unemployment, 21.6 percent
had two or more spells of unemployment, little different than the share in 2014.
(See table 3.)




Technical Note

   The data presented in this release were collected in the Annual Social and
Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a
monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households, conducted by the U.S.
Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data from the CPS
are used to obtain the monthly estimates of the nation's employment and unemployment
levels. The ASEC, conducted in the months of February through April, includes
questions about work activity during the prior calendar year. For instance, data
collected in 2016 refer to the 2015 calendar year. Because the reference period
is a full year, the number of persons with some employment or unemployment greatly
exceeds the average levels for any given month, which are based on a 1-week
reference period, and the corresponding annual average of the monthly estimates.
As shown below, for example, the number experiencing any unemployment was about
twice the number unemployed in an average month during the year.


                                      Employed     Unemployed
  2015 estimates (in thousands)
   Annual average of
    monthly estimates                  148,834        8,296
   Annual supplement data              162,329       16,925


   In addition, estimates from the supplement differ from those obtained in the
basic CPS because the questions used to classify workers as either employed or
unemployed are different. More important, perhaps, is that the supplement contains
fewer questions for categorizing respondents. In regard to unemployment in particular,
the supplement has no questions on the type of job search activity or on the respondent's
availability to work. Also, individuals can be counted as both employed and unemployed
in the work experience supplement data, whereas, for a specific monthly reference
week, each person is only counted in one category and employment activity takes
precedence over job search activity.

   The data presented in this release are not strictly comparable with data for
earlier years due to the introduction of updated population controls used in
the CPS. The population controls are updated each year in January to reflect the
latest information about population change. Additional information is available at
www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error.
When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance that
the sample estimates may differ from the true population values they represent. The 
component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as
sampling error, and its variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate.
There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a
sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value
because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level
of confidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur for
many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability to
obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of
respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information on esti-
mating standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Concepts and definitions

   The principle concepts and definitions used in connection with the data in this
release are described briefly below.

   Persons who worked. In the 2016 supplement, persons are considered to have worked
if they responded "yes" to either the question "Did you work at a job or business at
any time during 2015?" or "Did you do any temporary, part-time, or seasonal work even
for a few days during 2015?"

   Unemployed persons. Persons who worked during the year but not in every week are
counted as unemployed if they also reported looking for work or being on layoff from a
job during the year. Those who reported no work activity during the year are considered
unemployed if they responded "yes" to the question "Even though you did not work in
2015, did you spend any time trying to find a job or on layoff?"

   Work-experience unemployment rate. The number of persons unemployed at some point
during the year as a proportion of the number of persons who worked or looked for work
during the year.

   Labor force participants. Persons who either worked or were unemployed during the
year.

   Usual full- and part-time employment. These data refer to the number of hours a
worker typically works during most weeks of the year. Workers are classified as full
time if they usually worked 35 hours or more in a week; part-time employment refers to
workers whose typical workweek was between 1 and 34 hours.

   Year-round and part-year employment. Workers are classified as year round if they
worked 50 to 52 weeks. Part-year employment refers to workers who worked fewer than
50 weeks.

Other information

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals
upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.




Table 1. Work experience of the population during the year by sex and extent of employment, 2014-15 [Numbers in thousands]
Extent of employment Total Men Women
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015

NUMBER OF EMPLOYED

Civilian noninstitutional population

250,080 252,766 120,738 122,110 129,342 130,656

Total who worked or looked for work

162,757 165,495 85,602 87,149 77,156 78,347

Percent of the population

65.1 65.5 70.9 71.4 59.7 60.0

Total who worked during the year(1)

159,056 162,329 83,640 85,518 75,416 76,811

Percent of the population

63.6 64.2 69.3 70.0 58.3 58.8

Full time(2)

126,566 129,254 71,710 73,181 54,856 56,074

50 to 52 weeks

107,947 110,308 61,802 63,173 46,146 47,135

48 to 49 weeks

1,844 2,200 1,090 1,374 754 826

40 to 47 weeks

5,242 5,509 2,754 2,648 2,488 2,860

27 to 39 weeks

4,179 3,861 2,142 1,992 2,037 1,869

14 to 26 weeks

4,417 4,468 2,324 2,482 2,092 1,985

1 to 13 weeks

2,936 2,909 1,598 1,510 1,339 1,399

Part time(3)

32,490 33,075 11,930 12,338 20,560 20,737

50 to 52 weeks

17,127 17,280 6,004 6,028 11,123 11,252

48 to 49 weeks

886 882 342 298 544 584

40 to 47 weeks

2,820 2,809 894 1,059 1,926 1,750

27 to 39 weeks

2,825 2,775 1,072 1,054 1,753 1,720

14 to 26 weeks

4,376 4,567 1,730 1,773 2,645 2,794

1 to 13 weeks

4,458 4,762 1,889 2,126 2,569 2,637

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

Total who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

79.6 79.6 85.7 85.6 72.7 73.0

50 to 52 weeks

67.9 68.0 73.9 73.9 61.2 61.4

48 to 49 weeks

1.2 1.4 1.3 1.6 1.0 1.1

40 to 47 weeks

3.3 3.4 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.7

27 to 39 weeks

2.6 2.4 2.6 2.3 2.7 2.4

14 to 26 weeks

2.8 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.8 2.6

1 to 13 weeks

1.8 1.8 1.9 1.8 1.8 1.8

Part time(3)

20.4 20.4 14.3 14.4 27.3 27.0

50 to 52 weeks

10.8 10.6 7.2 7.0 14.7 14.6

48 to 49 weeks

0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.7 0.8

40 to 47 weeks

1.8 1.7 1.1 1.2 2.6 2.3

27 to 39 weeks

1.8 1.7 1.3 1.2 2.3 2.2

14 to 26 weeks

2.8 2.8 2.1 2.1 3.5 3.6

1 to 13 weeks

2.8 2.9 2.3 2.5 3.4 3.4

(1) Time worked includes paid vacation and sick leave.
(2) Usually worked 35 hours or more per week.
(3) Usually worked 1 to 34 hours per week.

NOTE: Data refer to persons 16 years and over. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 2. Work experience of the population during the year by race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and sex, 2014-15
[Numbers in thousands]
Extent of employment, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015

WHITE

Civilian noninstitutional population

196,434 197,883 95,899 96,722 100,535 101,161

Total who worked or looked for work

128,576 130,378 68,986 69,916 59,590 60,462

Percent of the population

65.5 65.9 71.9 72.3 59.3 59.8

Total who worked during the year(1)

126,174 128,343 67,703 68,847 58,471 59,496

Percent of the population

64.2 64.9 70.6 71.2 58.2 58.8

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

79.4 79.5 86.0 85.9 71.7 72.0

50 to 52 weeks

67.8 67.8 74.3 74.2 60.3 60.4

27 to 49 weeks

7.1 7.2 7.2 7.1 7.0 7.3

1 to 26 weeks

4.4 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.3

Part time(3)

20.6 20.5 14.0 14.1 28.3 28.0

50 to 52 weeks

10.9 10.8 7.0 6.8 15.4 15.4

27 to 49 weeks

4.3 4.1 2.8 2.8 6.0 5.5

1 to 26 weeks

5.5 5.7 4.2 4.4 6.9 7.1

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

31,257 31,750 14,203 14,455 17,054 17,295

Total who worked or looked for work

19,575 20,034 9,081 9,397 10,494 10,636

Percent of the population

62.6 63.1 63.9 65.0 61.5 61.5

Total who worked during the year(1)

18,680 19,229 8,618 8,972 10,062 10,258

Percent of the population

59.8 60.6 60.7 62.1 59.0 59.3

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

80.3 79.6 83.1 82.5 77.9 77.0

50 to 52 weeks

67.6 67.5 70.1 70.3 65.4 65.1

27 to 49 weeks

7.0 6.9 6.8 6.7 7.1 7.0

1 to 26 weeks

5.8 5.2 6.2 5.5 5.4 4.9

Part time(3)

19.7 20.4 16.9 17.5 22.1 23.0

50 to 52 weeks

10.3 10.2 8.9 8.6 11.6 11.5

27 to 49 weeks

3.4 3.8 2.8 3.1 3.9 4.3

1 to 26 weeks

6.0 6.5 5.2 5.7 6.6 7.2

ASIAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

14,425 14,840 6,803 6,961 7,622 7,879

Total who worked or looked for work

9,406 9,658 4,933 5,100 4,473 4,558

Percent of the population

65.2 65.1 72.5 73.3 58.7 57.9

Total who worked during the year(1)

9,195 9,495 4,821 5,035 4,375 4,460

Percent of the population

63.7 64.0 70.9 72.3 57.4 56.6

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

82.3 83.2 88.4 88.4 75.6 77.3

50 to 52 weeks

72.2 73.4 78.4 79.6 65.4 66.4

27 to 49 weeks

6.1 5.5 5.9 4.8 6.3 6.4

1 to 26 weeks

4.0 4.2 4.1 4.0 3.9 4.5

Part time(3)

17.7 16.8 11.6 11.6 24.4 22.7

50 to 52 weeks

9.6 9.7 6.4 6.5 13.2 13.2

27 to 49 weeks

3.4 2.9 2.2 1.8 4.8 4.1

1 to 26 weeks

4.7 4.3 3.1 3.3 6.5 5.5

HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Civilian noninstitutional population

39,322 40,382 19,601 20,112 19,722 20,270

Total who worked or looked for work

26,110 26,976 14,895 15,255 11,216 11,721

Percent of the population

66.4 66.8 76.0 75.8 56.9 57.8

Total who worked during the year(1)

25,413 26,459 14,527 15,011 10,886 11,448

Percent of the population

64.6 65.5 74.1 74.6 55.2 56.5

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

80.6 80.5 86.3 87.0 72.9 72.0

50 to 52 weeks

67.5 67.5 73.0 73.7 60.1 59.4

27 to 49 weeks

8.1 8.1 8.6 8.7 7.5 7.4

1 to 26 weeks

5.0 4.9 4.7 4.6 5.3 5.2

Part time(3)

19.4 19.5 13.7 13.0 27.1 28.0

50 to 52 weeks

10.8 10.8 7.4 6.6 15.5 16.4

27 to 49 weeks

3.5 3.3 2.6 2.4 4.7 4.6

1 to 26 weeks

5.1 5.3 3.7 4.0 6.8 7.1

(1) Time worked includes paid vacation and sick leave.
(2) Usually worked 35 hours or more per week.
(3) Usually worked 1 to 34 hours per week.

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals shown in table 1 because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 3. Extent of unemployment during the year by sex, 2014-15 [Numbers in thousands]
Extent of unemployment Total Men Women
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015

NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED

Total who worked or looked for work

162,757 165,495 85,602 87,149 77,156 78,347

Percent with unemployment

10.9 10.2 11.4 10.4 10.3 10.0

Total with unemployment

17,708 16,925 9,784 9,063 7,924 7,862

Did not work but looked for work

3,701 3,167 1,962 1,630 1,740 1,536

1 to 14 weeks

1,199 1,112 550 487 649 625

15 weeks or more

2,502 2,054 1,412 1,143 1,090 911

Worked during the year

14,006 13,759 7,822 7,433 6,185 6,326

Year-round workers(1) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

392 392 286 245 106 147

Part-year workers(2) with unemployment

13,614 13,366 7,536 7,188 6,079 6,179

1 to 4 weeks

2,365 2,618 1,227 1,367 1,138 1,251

5 to 10 weeks

1,999 2,102 1,168 1,159 831 943

11 to 14 weeks

1,889 1,916 1,095 993 794 923

15 to 26 weeks

3,855 3,572 2,124 2,000 1,731 1,571

27 weeks or more

3,507 3,159 1,924 1,668 1,584 1,491

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

16.3 14.7 15.9 14.8 16.8 14.6

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

2,872 2,971 1,787 1,762 1,084 1,209

2 spells

1,472 1,376 934 767 539 609

3 spells or more

1,399 1,595 854 995 546 600

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

Did not work but looked for work

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

1 to 14 weeks

32.4 35.1 28.0 29.9 37.3 40.7

15 weeks or more

67.6 64.9 72.0 70.1 62.7 59.3

Worked during the year

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Year-round workers(1) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

2.8 2.9 3.7 3.3 1.7 2.3

Part-year workers(2) with unemployment

97.2 97.1 96.3 96.7 98.3 97.7

1 to 4 weeks

16.9 19.0 15.7 18.4 18.4 19.8

5 to 10 weeks

14.3 15.3 14.9 15.6 13.4 14.9

11 to 14 weeks

13.5 13.9 14.0 13.4 12.8 14.6

15 to 26 weeks

27.5 26.0 27.1 26.9 28.0 24.8

27 weeks or more

25.0 23.0 24.6 22.4 25.6 23.6

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

20.5 21.6 22.9 23.7 17.5 19.1

2 spells

10.5 10.0 11.9 10.3 8.7 9.6

3 spells or more

10.0 11.6 10.9 13.4 8.8 9.5

(1) Worked 50 or 51 weeks.
(2) Worked less than 50 weeks.

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 4. Extent of unemployment during the year by race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and sex, 2014-15
[Numbers in thousands]
Extent of unemployment, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015

WHITE

Total who worked or looked for work

128,576 130,378 68,986 69,916 59,590 60,462

Percent with unemployment

10.0 9.5 10.5 9.7 9.5 9.3

Total with unemployment

12,920 12,409 7,246 6,764 5,675 5,645

Did not work but looked for work

2,402 2,035 1,283 1,069 1,119 966

Worked during the year

10,518 10,374 5,962 5,694 4,556 4,680

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

15.3 14.1 14.9 14.3 15.8 13.9

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Year-round workers(2) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

3.1 3.0 4.0 3.6 2.0 2.4

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

96.9 97.0 96.0 96.4 98.0 97.6

1 to 4 weeks

17.6 19.9 16.4 18.8 19.1 21.2

5 to 14 weeks

28.7 30.2 29.9 30.1 27.2 30.4

15 weeks or more

50.6 46.8 49.8 47.5 51.7 46.0

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

21.6 21.4 23.6 23.2 18.9 19.1

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Total who worked or looked for work

19,575 20,034 9,081 9,397 10,494 10,636

Percent with unemployment

15.6 15.0 17.5 16.2 13.9 13.8

Total with unemployment

3,052 2,995 1,589 1,523 1,463 1,473

Did not work but looked for work

895 804 463 426 433 379

Worked during the year

2,156 2,191 1,126 1,097 1,031 1,094

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

21.6 19.5 20.7 20.3 22.8 18.9

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Year-round workers(2) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

2.3 2.2 3.5 2.6 1.0 1.8

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.7 97.8 96.5 97.4 99.0 98.2

1 to 4 weeks

12.7 14.8 12.1 16.2 13.4 13.4

5 to 14 weeks

22.2 24.8 23.1 22.4 21.2 27.2

15 weeks or more

62.8 58.2 61.4 58.8 64.4 57.6

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

18.0 22.0 20.6 25.0 15.3 19.1

ASIAN

Total who worked or looked for work

9,406 9,658 4,933 5,100 4,473 4,558

Percent with unemployment

9.1 7.3 9.4 6.5 8.7 8.3

Total with unemployment

852 709 462 330 390 379

Did not work but looked for work

210 163 112 65 98 99

Worked during the year

642 545 350 265 292 280

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

16.8 14.6 15.2 14.1 18.9 15.1

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Year-round workers(2) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

1.6 2.6 2.5 2.2 0.6 2.9

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

98.4 97.4 97.5 97.8 99.4 97.1

1 to 4 weeks

18.5 21.5 16.8 21.5 20.5 21.4

5 to 14 weeks

25.8 27.2 30.2 28.9 20.6 25.5

15 weeks or more

54.1 48.8 50.6 47.4 58.3 50.2

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

13.2 18.3 13.9 19.5 12.4 17.2

HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Total who worked or looked for work

26,110 26,976 14,895 15,255 11,216 11,721

Percent with unemployment

13.5 12.1 13.8 11.8 13.1 12.4

Total with unemployment

3,531 3,257 2,059 1,799 1,472 1,458

Did not work but looked for work

697 517 367 244 330 273

Worked during the year

2,834 2,740 1,692 1,555 1,143 1,185

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

15.9 16.0 15.8 15.6 16.2 16.7

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Year-round workers(2) with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

2.8 2.7 3.8 3.3 1.4 2.0

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.2 97.3 96.2 96.7 98.6 98.0

1 to 4 weeks

16.8 18.0 16.5 16.8 17.2 19.6

5 to 14 weeks

28.7 26.9 28.4 28.4 29.1 24.8

15 weeks or more

51.7 52.4 51.4 51.4 52.2 53.6

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

22.5 23.8 25.8 26.5 17.7 20.3

(1) Time worked includes paid vacation and sick leave.
(2) Worked 50 or 51 weeks.
(3) Worked less than 50 weeks.

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals shown in table 3 because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Last Modified Date: December 09, 2016