December 17, 2002
Overall, 152.3 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2001. Of these, 15.8 million experienced some unemployment during the year, 2.8 million more than the year before.
The "work-experience unemployment rate" in 2001 was 10.4 percent, 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2000. Among those who experienced unemployment in 2001, the median number of weeks unemployed was 13.7, up from 12.4 weeks the year before.
About 2 million of those who had looked for a job in 2001 did not work at all during the year. Of the 13.8 million persons who worked during the year and also experienced unemployment, about one in four had two or more spells of joblessness.
These data are from a supplement to the March 2002 Current Population Survey. The "work-experience unemployment rate" is the number of workers who were unemployed at any time during 2001 as a percent of all those who ever worked or looked for work over the course of the year. Data for 2000 have been revised. See news release USDL 02-673, "Work Experience of the Population in 2001."