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Happy Mother’s Day from BLS: working mothers in 2012

May 10, 2013

The labor force participation rate—the percentage of the population working or looking for work—for all mothers with children under age 18 was 70.5 percent in 2012, little different from the prior year.


Employment status of mothers with own children under 18 years by age of youngest child, 2012 annual averages
CharacteristicWith own children under 18 yearsWith own children 6–17 years, none youngerWith own children under 6 yearsWith own children under 3 yearsWith own children 2 yearsWith own children 1 yearWith own children under 1 year

Civilian noninstitutional population


  Labor force (employed plus unemployed)


    Total employed


      Employed full time


      Employed part time


    Unemployed (1)


  Not in the labor force


(1) The percent of mothers that are unemployed, as displayed here, does not represent the unemployment rate.  The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons as a percent of the labor force.


Mothers with younger children are less likely to be in the labor force than mothers with older children. In 2012, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under 6 years old (64.8 percent) was lower than the rate of those whose youngest child was 6 to 17 years old (75.1 percent). The participation rate of mothers with infants under a year old was 57.0 percent.

Among employed mothers, those with preschoolers are more likely to work part time than are mothers with children ages 6 to 17. About 29 percent of employed mothers with children under age 6 worked part time in 2012, compared with 23 percent of employed mothers with children ages 6 to 17.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Employment Characteristics of Families – 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL‑13‑0730. Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week; part-time workers are those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Happy Mother’s Day from BLS: working mothers in 2012 at (visited July 20, 2024).

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