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Economic News Release
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Work Experience Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, December 3, 2019 					USDL-19-2103

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 -- 2018

A total of 166.4 million persons worked at some point during 2018, 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 2018 was 64.4 percent, little changed from 2017. The
number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2018 declined by 1.3 million to 
13.2 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 2018 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2018 was 70.4 percent, up 0.9
     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 7.8 percent in 2018. This is the lowest
     rate in this series, which began in 1958. (See table 3.) 

   --About 2.2 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in 2018, compared 
     with 2.4 million in 2017. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.4 percent of the population worked in 2018, little changed from 64.2 percent in 2017.
The proportion of men who worked at some time during 2018 was 69.7 percent, little changed from 
2017. The proportion of women, however, increased by 0.6 percentage point to 59.4 percent in 2018.
(See table 1.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the proportions of Whites (64.7 percent), Blacks 
(62.4 percent), Asians (64.5 percent), and Hispanics (66.6 percent) who worked at some time 
during 2018 showed little change from 2017. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2018, 80.8 percent usually worked full time, up 0.4 
percentage point from a year earlier. The proportion of women who usually worked full time 
increased 0.9 percentage point over the year to 74.4 percent in 2018. The share of men who 
usually worked full time was little changed at 86.7 percent. Among those who worked at some point
in 2018, Asians (84.7 percent) were more likely to work full time, followed by Blacks (82.4 
percent), and Hispanics (81.2 percent), and Whites (80.4 percent). (See tables 1 and 2.)

Of the total who worked during 2018, 80.8 percent were employed year round (working 50 to 52 
weeks, either full or part time), up from 80.1 percent in 2017. The share of men working year 
round increased by 1.1 percentage points to 83.1 percent in 2018, while the percentage of women
working year round was little changed at 78.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 168.6 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2018, up by 1.1 million
from the prior year. Of those, 13.2 million experienced some unemployment during 2018, down by 1.3
million from 2017. (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 2018, the work-
experience unemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage point to 7.8 percent--this is the lowest 
rate in the history of the series, which began in 1958. (See table 3.)

In 2018, men continued to have a higher work-experience unemployment rate than women, at 8.2 
percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. The rates for both men and women declined from the prior 
year. (See table 3.)

In 2018, the work-experience unemployment rates for Whites(7.3 percent) and Blacks (10.6 percent)
declined, while the rates for Hispanics(9.7 percent) and Asians (5.8 percent) were little changed.
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 table 4.)

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2018, the median number of weeks spent looking for 
work was 13.9 weeks. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not work at all in 2018
was little changed at 2.2 million. Of the 11.0 million individuals who both worked and experienced 
unemployment in 2018, 21.7 percent had two or more spells of unemployment, up 1.5 percentage 
points from 2017. (See table 3.)



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Last Modified Date: December 03, 2019