December 16, 1998
Of the more than 145 million persons who participated in the labor force in 1997, 15.6 million were unemployed at some point during the year. This translates into a "work-experience unemployment rate" of barely 10.8 percent.
At 10.8 percent, the work-experience unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since the series was first calculated in 1958. The percentage of workers with some unemployment had been nearly 16 percent in the recession trough of 1991, and almost as high in 1992, the first full year of recovery.
The work experience measure of unemployment counts anyone who was unemployed at any time during the year. Because people move into and out of unemployment all the time, this count was more than twice the number unemployed in the average month of 1997.