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Economic News Release
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Work Experience Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 14, 2018                      USDL-18-1942

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 -- 2017

A total of 165.2 million persons worked at some point during 2017, 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 2017 was 64.2 percent,
little changed from 2016. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment
during 2017 declined by 1.1 million to 14.5 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 2017 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2017 was 69.5
     percent, up 0.7 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 8.6 percent in 2017. (See table 3.)

   --About 2.4 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in 2017,
     down slightly from 2.6 million in 2016. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.2 percent of the population worked in 2017, little different from 64.3
percent in 2016. The proportions of men and women who worked at some time during
2017 were 70.1 percent and 58.8 percent, respectively. These proportions showed 
little change from the prior year. (See table 1.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the proportions of Whites (64.6 percent),
Blacks (61.9 percent), Asians (64.4 percent), and Hispanics (66.1 percent) who worked
at some time during 2017 showed little or no change from 2016. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2017, 80.4 percent usually worked full time, up
0.6 percentage point from a year earlier. The proportion of men who usually worked
full time increased 0.8 percentage point over the year to 86.6 percent in 2017. The
share of women who usually worked full time was little changed at 73.5 percent. Among
those who worked at some point in 2017, Asians (84.0 percent) were more likely to
work full time than Whites (80.0 percent), Blacks (81.8 percent), and Hispanics
(81.1 percent). (See tables 1 and 2.)

Of the total who worked during 2017, 80.1 percent were employed year round (working
50 to 52 weeks, either full or part time), up from 79.4 percent in 2016. The share
of women working year round increased by 1.2 percentage points to 78.0 percent in
2017, while the percentage of men working year round was little changed at 82.0
percent. (See table 1.)

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 167.5 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2017, up by
1.3 million from the prior year. Of those, 14.5 million experienced some unemployment
during 2017, down by 1.1 million from 2016. (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.
In 2017, the work-experience unemployment rate declined 0.8 percentage point to 8.6
percent. Since reaching a recent peak of 16.4 percent in 2009, the rate has declined
by 7.8 percentage points. (See table 3.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the work-experience unemployment rates for
Whites (8.0 percent) and Hispanics (9.9 percent) declined from 2016 to 2017, while
the rates for Blacks (12.3 percent) and Asians (7.0 percent) were little changed.
(See table 4.)

In 2017, men continued to have a higher work-experience unemployment rate than women,
9.0 percent compared with 8.3 percent. Among Whites, the rate for men was higher than the
rate for women, while among Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, the rates for men and
women were little different from each other. (See tables 3 and 4.)

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2017, the median number of weeks spent
looking for work was 13.4. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not
work at all in 2017 edged down by 208,000 over the year to 2.4 million. Of the
12.1 million individuals who both worked and experienced unemployment in 2017, 20.2
percent had two or more spells of unemployment, down 1.9 percentage points from the
share in 2016. (See table 3.)

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Last Modified Date: December 14, 2018