Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment and unemployment from age 18 to age 42

July 01, 2008

On average, individuals born from 1957 to 1964 (the later years of the "baby boom") were employed during 77 percent of all the weeks occurring from age 18 to age 42.

Percent of weeks individuals were employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force from age 18 to age 42 in 1978-2006
[Chart data—TXT]

They were unemployed—that is, without jobs but seeking work—5 percent of the weeks between ages 18 and 42. They were not in the labor force—that is, neither working nor seeking work—18 percent of those weeks.

Generally, men spent a larger percent of weeks employed than did women (84 versus 70 percent). Women spent much more time out of the labor force (25 percent of weeks) than did men (10 percent of weeks).

Between ages 18 and 42, blacks spent 68 percent of weeks employed, Hispanics or Latinos spent 71 percent and whites spent about 80 percent.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. For more information see "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results From a Longitudinal Survey," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-0860.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment and unemployment from age 18 to age 42 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/jun/wk5/art02.htm (visited January 16, 2022).

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