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Economic News Release
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Work Experience Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, December 9, 2020				USDL-20-2217

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


			WORK EXPERIENCE OF THE POPULATION -- 2019


A total of 168.6 million persons worked at some point during 2019, 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 2019 was 64.9 percent, an increase of 0.5 
percentage point from 2018. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during
2019 edged up 401,000 to 13.6 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 2019 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2019 was 70.2 percent,
     little different 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--was 8.0 percent in 2019, little changed from 2018. 
     (See table 3.)

   --About 2.0 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in 2019, down
     from 2.2 million in 2018. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.9 percent of the population worked in 2019, up from 64.4 percent in 2018. The
proportion of men who worked at some time during 2019 was 70.1 percent, up slightly from
the prior year (+0.4 percentage point). The proportion of women increased 0.7 percentage
point to 60.1 percent in 2019. (See table 1.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the proportions who worked at some time during
2019 increased for Whites (65.1 percent), Asians (66.1 percent), and Hispanics (67.9 
percent). The proportion for Blacks (62.8 percent) showed little change from 2018. (See 
table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2019, 80.8 percent usually worked full time, the same
as a year earlier. The proportion of women who usually worked full time edged up 0.5 
percentage point over the year to 74.9 percent in 2019. The share of men, however, 
declined 0.5 percentage point to 86.2 percent. Among those who worked at some point in 
2019, Asians (84.3 percent) were more likely to work full time than Blacks (81.7 percent),
Hispanics (81.3 percent), and Whites (80.4 percent). (See tables 1 and 2.)

Of the total who worked during 2019, 80.4 percent were employed year round (working 50 to
52 weeks, either full or part time), down 0.4 percentage point from 2018. The share of men
working year round declined 0.7 percentage point to 82.4 percent in 2019, while the 
percentage of women working year round was little changed at 78.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 170.7 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2019, up 2.0 
million from the prior year. Of those, the number who experienced some unemployment during
2019 edged up 401,000 to 13.6 million. (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) was 8.0 percent in 2019. This is 
little different from the series low of 7.8 percent reached in 2018 (the series began in 
1958). (See table 3.)

In 2019, men continued to have a higher work-experience unemployment rate than women, at 
8.3 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. The rates for both men and women changed little
from the prior year. (See table 3.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the work-experience unemployment rate for 
Blacks increased to 11.5 percent in 2019, while the rates for Whites (7.3 percent), Asians
(6.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent) saw little or no change. Among Whites and 
Blacks, the rate for men was higher than the rate for women, while the rates for men and 
women were little different from each other for Asians and Hispanics. (See table 4.)

The number of individuals who both worked and experienced unemployment in 2019 rose to 
11.5 million. Among these workers, 46.1 percent looked for work for 15 weeks or more, and
20.9 percent had two or more spells of unemployment. Men continued to be more likely than
women to experience multiple spells of unemployment (22.4 percent and 19.2 percent, 
respectively). Asians were less likely than Whites, Blacks, or Hispanics to experience two
or more spells of unemployment in 2019. (See tables 3 and 4.)



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Last Modified Date: December 09, 2020