Bureau of Labor Statistics

Labor market problems of poor full-timers

September 29, 2000

Low weekly earnings continued to be the most common problem among full-time workers who fell below the poverty level in 1998; about 7 in 10 poor such workers faced low weekly earnings, either alone or in conjunction with other labor market problems.

Labor market problems of full-time workers below poverty level, persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more, 1998 (thousands)
[Chart data—TXT]

Nearly a third of the working poor experienced unemployment in 1998, either alone or in conjunction with other problems. Only 1 in 20 experienced all three problems—low earnings, unemployment, and involuntary part-time employment.

Some 650,000 of the working poor, or 17.2 percent, did not experience any of the three primary labor market problems in 1998. Their poverty status may be associated with other factors, including short-term employment, some weeks of voluntary part-time work, or a family structure that increases the risk of poverty.

The primary source of data in this report is the work experience and income supplement (called the Annual Demographic Survey) to the March 1999 Current Population Survey (CPS). The working poor are individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose family or personal incomes fell below the official poverty level. Read more about the working poor in A Profile of the Working Poor, 1998, BLS Report 944.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor market problems of poor full-timers at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/sept/wk4/art05.htm (visited January 25, 2022).


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