March 19, 1999
In 1998, 6.2 million people were unemployed out of a labor force of 137.7 million, resulting in an annual average unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. A majority of the unemployed were either job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs (2.8 million or 45.5 percent), or reentrants into the labor force who had not yet found a job (2.1 million or 34.4 percent). The specific distributions of reasons for unemployment varied by gender and age, however.
More men than women reported being unemployed because of job loss or completion of a temporary job, while more women than men were labor force reentrants. In 1998, among unemployed men 20 years old and over, 61.5 percent were job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, compared to 43.4 percent of adult women. In contrast, 39.0 percent of unemployed women were reentrants, compared with 23.7 percent of men.
Among teenagers, the largest share of unemployed persons were reentrants (47.9 percent), while the next largest share were new entrants to the labor force (30.0 percent). Young persons were less frequently unemployed due to job loss or completion of temporary jobs (15.0 percent).
These data on unemployed persons by reason for unemployment are produced by the Current Population Survey. More information can be found in Table 27 of the January 1999 edition of "Employment and Earnings." The data in this article are 1998 annual averages.