Work Experience of the Population (Annual) News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, December 5, 2017                       USDL-17-1614

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 -- 2016


A total of 163.6 million persons worked at some point during 2016, 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 2016 was 64.3 percent, little
changed from 2015. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2016
declined by 1.4 million to 15.6 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 2016 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2016 was 68.8 percent,
     up 0.8 percentage point 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 0.8 percentage point to 9.4 percent
     in 2016. (See table 3.)

   --About 2.6 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in 2016,
     down from 3.2 million in 2015. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.3 percent of the population worked in 2016, little different from 64.2
percent in 2015. The proportions of men and women who worked at some time during 2016
were 70.0 percent and 59.0 percent, respectively. These proportions showed little or no
change from the prior year. (See table 1.) 

The proportion of Blacks (61.9 percent) who worked at some time during 2016 increased 
by 1.3 percentage points from 2015, while the shares of Whites (64.6 percent), 
Asians (64.8 percent), and Hispanics (66.1 percent) showed little change. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2016, 79.8 percent usually worked full time, little
changed from a year earlier. In 2016, men (85.8 percent) continued to be more likely than
women (73.1 percent) to work full time during the year. These proportions were little
changed from the prior year. Among those who worked at some point in 2016, Asians (83.0
percent) were more likely to work full time than Whites (79.6 percent), Blacks (80.7
percent), and Hispanics (81.0 percent). (See tables 1 and 2.)

Of the total who worked during 2016, 79.4 percent were employed year round (working 50
to 52 weeks, either full or part time), up from 78.6 percent in 2015. In 2016, the
percentages of both men (81.8 percent) and women (76.8 percent) working year round
increased from a year earlier. (See table 1.)

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 166.2 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2016, up by
726,000 from the prior year. Of those, 15.6 million experienced some unemployment during
2016, down by 1.4 million from 2015. (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 9.4
percent in 2016, the work-experience unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage point lower
than in 2015. The work-experience unemployment rates for Whites (8.8 percent), Blacks
(13.1 percent), and Hispanics (11.1 percent) declined from 2015 to 2016, while the rate
for Asians (7.3 percent) was unchanged. (See tables 3 and 4.)

In 2016, men continued to have a slightly higher work-experience unemployment rate than
women, 9.5 percent versus 9.2 percent. Among Blacks, the rate for men was higher than the
rate for women, while among Whites, Asians, and Hispanics, the rates for men and women
were little different from each other.

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2016, the median number of weeks spent looking
for work was 14.5. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not work at all in
2016 declined by 584,000 over the year to 2.6 million. Of the 13.0 million individuals who
both worked and experienced unemployment in 2016, 22.1 percent had two or more spells
of unemployment, little different than the share in 2015. (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 2017 refer to the 2016 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
  2016 estimates (in thousands)
   Annual average of
    monthly estimates                  151,436        7,751
   Annual supplement data              163,638       15,570


   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 2017 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 2016?" or "Did you do any temporary, part-time, or seasonal work even
for a few days during 2016?"

   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
2016, 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, 2015-16 [Numbers in thousands]
Extent of employment Total Men Women
2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016

NUMBER OF EMPLOYED

Civilian noninstitutional population

252,766 254,413 122,110 122,944 130,656 131,469

Total who worked or looked for work

165,495 166,221 87,149 87,368 78,347 78,853

Percent of the population

65.5 65.3 71.4 71.1 60.0 60.0

Total who worked during the year(1)

162,329 163,638 85,518 86,063 76,811 77,574

Percent of the population

64.2 64.3 70.0 70.0 58.8 59.0

Full time(2)

129,254 130,560 73,181 73,881 56,074 56,679

50 to 52 weeks

110,308 112,554 63,173 64,299 47,135 48,255

48 to 49 weeks

2,200 1,948 1,374 1,157 826 791

40 to 47 weeks

5,509 5,057 2,648 2,501 2,860 2,556

27 to 39 weeks

3,861 3,821 1,992 2,049 1,869 1,772

14 to 26 weeks

4,468 4,248 2,482 2,293 1,985 1,955

1 to 13 weeks

2,909 2,932 1,510 1,582 1,399 1,350

Part time(3)

33,075 33,078 12,338 12,182 20,737 20,896

50 to 52 weeks

17,280 17,438 6,028 6,120 11,252 11,318

48 to 49 weeks

882 893 298 298 584 595

40 to 47 weeks

2,809 2,779 1,059 931 1,750 1,848

27 to 39 weeks

2,775 2,938 1,054 1,110 1,720 1,828

14 to 26 weeks

4,567 4,507 1,773 1,772 2,794 2,735

1 to 13 weeks

4,762 4,523 2,126 1,952 2,637 2,570

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 79.8 85.6 85.8 73.0 73.1

50 to 52 weeks

68.0 68.8 73.9 74.7 61.4 62.2

48 to 49 weeks

1.4 1.2 1.6 1.3 1.1 1.0

40 to 47 weeks

3.4 3.1 3.1 2.9 3.7 3.3

27 to 39 weeks

2.4 2.3 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.3

14 to 26 weeks

2.8 2.6 2.9 2.7 2.6 2.5

1 to 13 weeks

1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.7

Part time(3)

20.4 20.2 14.4 14.2 27.0 26.9

50 to 52 weeks

10.6 10.7 7.0 7.1 14.6 14.6

48 to 49 weeks

0.5 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.8 0.8

40 to 47 weeks

1.7 1.7 1.2 1.1 2.3 2.4

27 to 39 weeks

1.7 1.8 1.2 1.3 2.2 2.4

14 to 26 weeks

2.8 2.8 2.1 2.1 3.6 3.5

1 to 13 weeks

2.9 2.8 2.5 2.3 3.4 3.3

(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, 2015-16
[Numbers in thousands]
Extent of employment, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016

WHITE

Civilian noninstitutional population

197,883 198,597 96,722 97,043 101,161 101,554

Total who worked or looked for work

130,378 130,021 69,916 69,608 60,462 60,413

Percent of the population

65.9 65.5 72.3 71.7 59.8 59.5

Total who worked during the year(1)

128,343 128,370 68,847 68,796 59,496 59,574

Percent of the population

64.9 64.6 71.2 70.9 58.8 58.7

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

79.5 79.6 85.9 86.1 72.0 72.0

50 to 52 weeks

67.8 68.7 74.2 75.1 60.4 61.2

27 to 49 weeks

7.2 6.7 7.1 6.7 7.3 6.8

1 to 26 weeks

4.4 4.1 4.5 4.2 4.3 4.0

Part time(3)

20.5 20.4 14.1 13.9 28.0 28.0

50 to 52 weeks

10.8 10.9 6.8 7.0 15.4 15.3

27 to 49 weeks

4.1 4.2 2.8 2.8 5.5 5.9

1 to 26 weeks

5.7 5.4 4.4 4.1 7.1 6.8

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

31,750 32,126 14,455 14,652 17,295 17,475

Total who worked or looked for work

20,034 20,534 9,397 9,573 10,636 10,962

Percent of the population

63.1 63.9 65.0 65.3 61.5 62.7

Total who worked during the year(1)

19,229 19,897 8,972 9,255 10,258 10,643

Percent of the population

60.6 61.9 62.1 63.2 59.3 60.9

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

79.6 80.7 82.5 84.4 77.0 77.6

50 to 52 weeks

67.5 68.9 70.3 71.7 65.1 66.5

27 to 49 weeks

6.9 6.2 6.7 6.4 7.0 6.0

1 to 26 weeks

5.2 5.6 5.5 6.2 4.9 5.1

Part time(3)

20.4 19.3 17.5 15.6 23.0 22.4

50 to 52 weeks

10.2 9.9 8.6 7.8 11.5 11.8

27 to 49 weeks

3.8 3.3 3.1 2.7 4.3 3.8

1 to 26 weeks

6.5 6.0 5.7 5.0 7.2 6.8

ASIAN

Civilian noninstitutional population

14,840 15,399 6,961 7,253 7,879 8,146

Total who worked or looked for work

9,658 10,135 5,100 5,343 4,558 4,792

Percent of the population

65.1 65.8 73.3 73.7 57.9 58.8

Total who worked during the year(1)

9,495 9,982 5,035 5,263 4,460 4,719

Percent of the population

64.0 64.8 72.3 72.6 56.6 57.9

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

83.2 83.0 88.4 88.4 77.3 77.0

50 to 52 weeks

73.4 73.6 79.6 79.5 66.4 67.1

27 to 49 weeks

5.5 5.3 4.8 5.1 6.4 5.4

1 to 26 weeks

4.2 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.5 4.4

Part time(3)

16.8 17.0 11.6 11.6 22.7 23.0

50 to 52 weeks

9.7 9.3 6.5 6.1 13.2 12.9

27 to 49 weeks

2.9 3.1 1.8 1.9 4.1 4.4

1 to 26 weeks

4.3 4.6 3.3 3.6 5.5 5.7

HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Civilian noninstitutional population

40,382 41,081 20,112 20,435 20,270 20,645

Total who worked or looked for work

26,976 27,623 15,255 15,472 11,721 12,151

Percent of the population

66.8 67.2 75.8 75.7 57.8 58.9

Total who worked during the year(1)

26,459 27,145 15,011 15,236 11,448 11,909

Percent of the population

65.5 66.1 74.6 74.6 56.5 57.7

Percent who worked during the year(1)

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Full time(2)

80.5 81.0 87.0 87.5 72.0 72.6

50 to 52 weeks

67.5 69.1 73.7 75.4 59.4 61.0

27 to 49 weeks

8.1 7.2 8.7 7.9 7.4 6.3

1 to 26 weeks

4.9 4.7 4.6 4.2 5.2 5.3

Part time(3)

19.5 19.0 13.0 12.5 28.0 27.4

50 to 52 weeks

10.8 10.4 6.6 6.8 16.4 15.2

27 to 49 weeks

3.3 3.4 2.4 2.1 4.6 5.1

1 to 26 weeks

5.3 5.2 4.0 3.7 7.1 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, 2015-16 [Numbers in thousands]
Extent of unemployment Total Men Women
2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016

NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED

Total who worked or looked for work

165,495 166,221 87,149 87,368 78,347 78,853

Percent with unemployment

10.2 9.4 10.4 9.5 10.0 9.2

Total with unemployment

16,925 15,570 9,063 8,300 7,862 7,270

Did not work but looked for work

3,167 2,583 1,630 1,304 1,536 1,278

1 to 14 weeks

1,112 961 487 450 625 511

15 weeks or more

2,054 1,622 1,143 855 911 767

Worked during the year

13,759 12,987 7,433 6,995 6,326 5,992

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

392 480 245 280 147 199

Part-year workers(2) with unemployment

13,366 12,507 7,188 6,715 6,179 5,792

1 to 4 weeks

2,618 2,553 1,367 1,259 1,251 1,294

5 to 10 weeks

2,102 2,083 1,159 1,073 943 1,010

11 to 14 weeks

1,916 1,559 993 844 923 715

15 to 26 weeks

3,572 3,286 2,000 1,892 1,571 1,394

27 weeks or more

3,159 3,027 1,668 1,647 1,491 1,380

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

14.7 14.5 14.8 15.3 14.6 13.8

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

2,971 2,871 1,762 1,634 1,209 1,237

2 spells

1,376 1,441 767 787 609 655

3 spells or more

1,595 1,430 995 847 600 583

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

35.1 37.2 29.9 34.5 40.7 40.0

15 weeks or more

64.9 62.8 70.1 65.5 59.3 60.0

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

2.9 3.7 3.3 4.0 2.3 3.3

Part-year workers(2) with unemployment

97.1 96.3 96.7 96.0 97.7 96.7

1 to 4 weeks

19.0 19.7 18.4 18.0 19.8 21.6

5 to 10 weeks

15.3 16.0 15.6 15.3 14.9 16.9

11 to 14 weeks

13.9 12.0 13.4 12.1 14.6 11.9

15 to 26 weeks

26.0 25.3 26.9 27.0 24.8 23.3

27 weeks or more

23.0 23.3 22.4 23.5 23.6 23.0

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

21.6 22.1 23.7 23.4 19.1 20.7

2 spells

10.0 11.1 10.3 11.2 9.6 10.9

3 spells or more

11.6 11.0 13.4 12.1 9.5 9.7

(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, 2015-16
[Numbers in thousands]
Extent of unemployment, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016

WHITE

Total who worked or looked for work

130,378 130,021 69,916 69,608 60,462 60,413

Percent with unemployment

9.5 8.8 9.7 8.8 9.3 8.7

Total with unemployment

12,409 11,379 6,764 6,148 5,645 5,231

Did not work but looked for work

2,035 1,651 1,069 811 966 839

Worked during the year

10,374 9,729 5,694 5,337 4,680 4,392

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

14.1 13.9 14.3 14.6 13.9 13.1

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

3.0 3.8 3.6 4.2 2.4 3.2

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.0 96.2 96.4 95.8 97.6 96.8

1 to 4 weeks

19.9 20.7 18.8 18.7 21.2 23.0

5 to 14 weeks

30.2 28.9 30.1 28.4 30.4 29.6

15 weeks or more

46.8 46.7 47.5 48.7 46.0 44.2

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

21.4 22.5 23.2 23.2 19.1 21.5

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN

Total who worked or looked for work

20,034 20,534 9,397 9,573 10,636 10,962

Percent with unemployment

15.0 13.1 16.2 14.2 13.8 12.2

Total with unemployment

2,995 2,694 1,523 1,360 1,473 1,334

Did not work but looked for work

804 637 426 318 379 319

Worked during the year

2,191 2,057 1,097 1,041 1,094 1,015

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

19.5 19.0 20.3 20.2 18.9 17.6

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

2.2 3.7 2.6 3.0 1.8 4.5

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.8 96.3 97.4 97.0 98.2 95.5

1 to 4 weeks

14.8 13.8 16.2 13.1 13.4 14.6

5 to 14 weeks

24.8 24.9 22.4 23.5 27.2 26.2

15 weeks or more

58.2 57.6 58.8 60.4 57.6 54.7

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

22.0 22.5 25.0 27.4 19.1 17.5

ASIAN

Total who worked or looked for work

9,658 10,135 5,100 5,343 4,558 4,792

Percent with unemployment

7.3 7.3 6.5 6.9 8.3 7.7

Total with unemployment

709 741 330 371 379 370

Did not work but looked for work

163 153 65 79 99 73

Worked during the year

545 588 265 292 280 296

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

14.6 14.1 14.1 13.5 15.1 14.9

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

2.6 3.2 2.2 3.0 2.9 3.3

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.4 96.8 97.8 97.0 97.1 96.7

1 to 4 weeks

21.5 22.4 21.5 22.8 21.4 21.9

5 to 14 weeks

27.2 27.3 28.9 29.6 25.5 25.1

15 weeks or more

48.8 47.1 47.4 44.6 50.2 49.7

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

18.3 15.0 19.5 14.9 17.2 15.1

HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Total who worked or looked for work

26,976 27,623 15,255 15,472 11,721 12,151

Percent with unemployment

12.1 11.1 11.8 11.1 12.4 11.0

Total with unemployment

3,257 3,057 1,799 1,724 1,458 1,334

Did not work but looked for work

517 478 244 236 273 243

Worked during the year

2,740 2,579 1,555 1,488 1,185 1,091

Median weeks of unemployment for all workers

16.0 14.8 15.6 14.6 16.7 15.0

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

2.7 3.6 3.3 4.5 2.0 2.3

Part-year workers(3) with unemployment

97.3 96.4 96.7 95.5 98.0 97.7

1 to 4 weeks

18.0 21.3 16.8 20.2 19.6 22.9

5 to 14 weeks

26.9 25.8 28.4 26.5 24.8 24.8

15 weeks or more

52.4 49.4 51.4 48.8 53.6 50.0

With 2 spells or more of unemployment

23.8 22.1 26.5 23.7 20.3 19.9

(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 05, 2017