Youngest baby boomers employed an average of 78 percent of weeks from ages 18 to 50

September 13, 2017

The youngest baby boomers were employed during 78 percent of all the weeks from age 18 to age 50. They were unemployed (without jobs but seeking work) 5 percent of the weeks. They were not in the labor force (neither working nor seeking work) 18 percent of the weeks. At every education level, women spent fewer weeks employed than men. Overall, women were employed 71 percent of weeks from age 18 to age 50, and men were employed 84 percent of weeks.

 

 

Percent of weeks people were employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force from age 18 to age 50 in 1978–2014
Characteristic Employed Unemployed Not in the labor force

Total

77.8% 4.6% 17.6%

Less than a high school diploma

58.4 8.0 33.5

High school graduates, no college

76.7 5.5 17.8

Some college or associate degree

79.3 4.2 16.5

Bachelor's degree and higher

83.9 2.4 13.7

Men, total

83.9 5.1 11.0

Men, less than a high school diploma

69.9 9.5 20.7

Men, high school graduates, no college

82.8 6.0 11.1

Men, some college or associate degree

87.1 4.3 8.6

Men, bachelor's degree and higher

88.2 2.5 9.3

Women, total

71.4 4.1 24.5

Women, less than a high school diploma

42.2 6.1 51.7

Women, high school graduates, no college

69.4 5.0 25.6

Women, some college or associate degree

73.2 4.2 22.6

Women, bachelor's degree and higher

79.6 2.3 18.1

Women's attachment to the labor force increased with their education level. Women without a high school diploma (as of 2014–15) spent 42 percent of all weeks employed from age 18 to age 50. Women with a high school diploma but had never attended college were employed 69 percent of weeks. Women with a bachelor's degree or more education were employed 80 percent of weeks.

Men's attachment to the labor force also increased with their education level, but not as sharply as women's. Men without a high school diploma were employed 70 percent of weeks from age 18 to age 50. Men with a high school diploma but had never attended college were employed 83 percent of weeks, and men with at least a bachelor’s degree were employed 88 percent of weeks.

These data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 49 to 58 when interviewed most recently in 2014–15. These respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the latter years of the baby boom that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964. To learn more, see "Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth among Americans at 50: Results from a Longitudinal Survey" (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Youngest baby boomers employed an average of 78 percent of weeks from ages 18 to 50 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/youngest-baby-boomers-employed-an-average-of-78-percent-of-weeks-from-ages-18-to-50.htm (visited November 18, 2017).

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