December 27, 2005
The number of persons who experienced some unemployment in 2004 fell by 1.4 million from 2003, to 15.1 million.
At 9.7 percent in 2004, the "work-experience unemployment rate" was down by 1.0 percentage point from 2003. The rate is low by historical standards, but is above the series low of 8.6 percent reached in 2000. The rate for blacks in 2004, 14.4 percent, was higher than the rates for Hispanics or Latinos (10.9 percent), whites (9.0 percent), and Asians (8.0 percent).
In 2004, among those who experienced unemployment, the median number of weeks spent looking for work was 14.9 weeks, down from 16.6 weeks in 2003. About 2.6 million individuals had looked for a job but did not work at all in 2004, down from 2.8 million a year earlier.
These data are based on information collected in the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The "work-experience unemployment rate" is the number unemployed at some time during the year as a proportion of the number who worked or looked for work during the year. For more information, see news release USDL 05-2353, "Work Experience of the Population in 2004" (PDF) (TXT).