16.9 million people unemployed at some point in 2015, down from 17.7 million in 2014

December 23, 2016

In 2015, 16.9 million people experienced some unemployment, a decrease of 783,000 from 2014. These unemployed represented 10.2 percent of the 165.5 million people who worked or looked for work at some point during 2015.

Percent distribution of extent of unemployment for those who worked and experienced unemployment during the year, 2014–15
Extent of unemployment 2014 2015

Total, worked and experienced unemployment

100.0% 100.0%

Year-round with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

2.8 2.9

Part-year workers

   

With 1 to 4 weeks of unemployment

16.9 19.0

With 5 to 10 weeks of unemployment

14.3 15.3

With 11 to 14 weeks of unemployment

13.5 13.9

With 15 to 26 weeks of unemployment

27.5 26.0

With 27 weeks or more of unemployment

25.0 23.0

Men who worked and experienced unemployment

   

Total

100.0% 100.0%

Men who worked year round with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

3.7 3.3

Men who worked part year

   

With 1 to 4 weeks of unemployment

15.7 18.4

With 5 to 10 weeks of unemployment

14.9 15.6

With 11 to 14 weeks of unemployment

14.0 13.4

With 15 to 26 weeks of unemployment

27.1 26.9

With 27 weeks or more of unemployment

24.6 22.4

Women who worked and experienced unemployment

   

Total

100.0% 100.0%

Women who worked year round with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment

1.7 2.3

Women who worked part year

   

With 1 to 4 weeks of unemployment

18.4 19.8

With 5 to 10 weeks of unemployment

13.4 14.9

With 11 to 14 weeks of unemployment

12.8 14.6

With 15 to 26 weeks of unemployment

28.0 24.8

With 27 weeks or more of unemployment

25.6 23.6

Of the 16.9 million people who experienced unemployment in 2015, 13.8 million also worked at some time during the year. Year-round workers, or those who worked 50 or 51 weeks, with 1 or 2 weeks of unemployment in 2015 represented 2.9 percent of those who worked and experienced unemployment. The remaining 97 percent were part-year workers, or those who worked less than 50 weeks, that experienced some unemployment during the year.

Among those who worked and experienced some unemployment during 2015, 26.0 percent were unemployed 15 to 26 weeks, and 23.0 percent were unemployed 27 weeks or longer. In 2015, 19.0 percent worked part year and were unemployed 1 to 4 weeks. The extent of unemployment for those who both worked and experienced unemployment was similar for men and women in 2015.  

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Work Experience of the Population — 2015" (HTML) (PDF). 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 16.9 million people unemployed at some point in 2015, down from 17.7 million in 2014 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/16-point-9-million-people-unemployed-at-some-point-in-2015-down-from-17-point-7-million-in-2014.htm (visited April 28, 2017).

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