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7.8 percent of people who worked or looked for work experienced unemployment in 2018

December 09, 2019

The number of people who experienced some unemployment during 2018 declined by 1.3 million to 13.2 million. Their share of those who worked or looked for work during the year fell by 0.8 percentage point to 7.8 percent in 2018. That was the lowest rate in the history of the series. In 2018, 168.6 million people worked or looked for work at some time during the year, an increase of 1.1 million from 2017.

Number of unemployed at some time during the year as a percent of those who worked or looked for work during the year, 1958-2018
Year Total Men Women
Work-experience unemployment rate Number who worked or looked for work during the year Number of unemployed at some time during the year Work-experience unemployment rate Number who worked or looked for work during the year Number of unemployed at some time during the year Work-experience unemployment rate Number who worked or looked for work during the year Number of unemployed at some time during the year

1958

17.9% 78,787,000 14,120,000 19.6% 49,158,000 9,645,000 15.1% 29,628,000 4,474,000

1959

15.3 79,494,000 12,195,000 16.5 49,523,000 8,163,000 13.5 29,971,000 4,032,000

1960

17.2 82,204,000 14,151,000 18.4 50,686,000 9,318,000 15.3 31,518,000 4,833,000

1961

18.4 81,963,000 15,096,000 19.4 50,610,000 9,846,000 16.7 31,353,000 5,250,000

1962

18.2 83,944,000 15,256,000 18.8 51,412,000 9,686,000 17.1 32,532,000 5,570,000

1963

16.7 85,038,000 14,211,000 17.2 51,817,000 8,923,000 15.9 33,221,000 5,288,000

1964

16.2 86,837,000 14,052,000 16.3 52,645,000 8,563,000 16.1 34,192,000 5,489,000

1965

14.1 87,591,000 12,334,000 14.0 52,958,000 7,428,000 14.2 34,633,000 4,906,000

1966

13.0 87,540,000 11,387,000 12.5 52,103,000 6,503,000 13.8 35,437,000 4,884,000

1967

12.9 89,432,000 11,564,000 12.6 52,788,000 6,655,000 13.4 36,644,000 4,909,000

1968

12.4 91,480,000 11,332,000 11.7 53,677,000 6,263,000 13.4 37,803,000 5,069,000

1969

12.5 93,640,000 11,744,000 12.3 54,755,000 6,709,000 12.9 38,885,000 5,035,000

1970

15.3 95,576,000 14,615,000 15.5 55,714,000 8,642,000 15.0 39,862,000 5,973,000

1971

16.3 97,652,000 15,950,000 16.4 57,091,000 9,372,000 16.2 40,561,000 6,579,000

1972

15.5 99,730,000 15,436,000 15.3 58,170,000 8,881,000 15.8 41,559,000 6,555,000

1973

14.3 102,747,000 14,697,000 13.5 59,355,000 8,032,000 15.4 43,392,000 6,665,000

1974

17.9 104,769,000 18,785,000 17.3 60,114,000 10,421,000 18.7 44,655,000 8,364,000

1975

20.2 105,843,000 21,402,000 20.0 60,413,000 12,101,000 20.5 45,430,000 9,302,000

1976

19.1 108,783,000 20,795,000 18.8 61,556,000 11,587,000 19.5 47,225,000 9,208,000

1977

17.9 111,531,000 19,910,000 17.5 62,674,000 10,949,000 18.3 48,858,000 8,960,000

1978

15.9 114,464,000 18,185,000 15.4 63,804,000 9,822,000 16.5 50,660,000 8,363,000

1979

15.8 116,983,000 18,468,000 15.5 64,739,000 10,042,000 16.1 52,244,000 8,426,000

1980

18.1 118,348,000 21,410,000 18.5 65,277,000 12,072,000 17.6 53,071,000 9,338,000

1981

19.5 119,658,000 23,382,000 20.0 65,950,000 13,175,000 19.0 53,708,000 10,207,000

1982

22.0 120,235,000 26,493,000 23.3 66,160,000 15,441,000 20.4 54,074,000 11,052,000

1983

19.6 121,503,000 23,762,000 21.0 66,350,000 13,919,000 17.8 55,153,000 9,842,000

1984

17.4 124,117,000 21,535,000 18.1 67,234,000 12,174,000 16.5 56,883,000 9,361,000

1985

16.7 125,890,000 20,984,000 17.2 68,270,000 11,754,000 16.0 57,620,000 9,230,000

1986

16.2 128,143,000 20,703,000 16.9 69,225,000 11,688,000 15.3 58,918,000 9,015,000

1987

14.1 130,353,000 18,399,000 15.0 69,995,000 10,504,000 13.1 60,357,000 7,895,000

1988

12.9 132,185,000 17,096,000 13.7 70,738,000 9,696,000 12.0 61,447,000 7,400,000

1989

12.9 133,444,000 17,257,000 13.7 71,475,000 9,778,000 12.1 61,970,000 7,480,000

1990

14.7 134,436,000 19,786,000 15.7 71,959,000 11,294,000 13.6 62,477,000 8,492,000

1991

15.7 134,985,000 21,256,000 17.5 72,109,000 12,625,000 13.7 62,876,000 8,631,000

1992

15.8 135,822,000 21,441,000 17.7 72,607,000 12,833,000 13.6 63,214,000 8,607,000

1993

14.8 138,895,000 20,516,000 15.9 73,689,000 11,712,000 13.5 65,206,000 8,804,000

1994

13.5 140,441,000 18,944,000 14.2 74,418,000 10,565,000 12.7 66,023,000 8,379,000

1995

12.8 141,659,000 18,063,000 13.3 74,982,000 9,992,000 12.1 66,677,000 8,070,000

1996

11.7 143,708,000 16,786,000 12.0 76,035,000 9,153,000 11.3 67,673,000 7,632,000

1997

10.8 145,323,000 15,623,000 11.2 76,704,000 8,594,000 10.2 68,619,000 7,029,000

1998

9.6 146,570,000 14,042,000 9.5 77,047,000 7,282,000 9.7 69,523,000 6,760,000

1999

8.8 149,042,000 13,050,000 9.0 78,236,000 7,073,000 8.4 70,806,000 5,976,000

2000

8.6 152,417,000 13,041,000 9.0 80,287,000 7,199,000 8.1 72,130,000 5,842,000

2001

10.4 152,300,000 15,834,000 11.1 80,304,000 8,919,000 9.6 71,996,000 6,915,000

2002

11.0 153,411,000 16,802,000 11.9 80,933,000 9,603,000 9.9 72,478,000 7,199,000

2003

10.7 153,448,000 16,444,000 11.5 81,023,000 9,321,000 9.8 72,425,000 7,122,000

2004

9.7 154,796,000 15,077,000 10.1 81,759,000 8,249,000 9.3 73,037,000 6,828,000

2005

9.3 156,744,000 14,531,000 9.7 83,230,000 8,090,000 8.8 73,514,000 6,441,000

2006

9.1 158,563,000 14,424,000 9.6 84,100,000 8,097,000 8.5 74,463,000 6,326,000

2007

9.5 159,750,000 15,117,000 10.3 84,614,000 8,685,000 8.6 75,136,000 6,432,000

2008

13.2 160,658,000 21,205,000 14.5 84,781,000 12,306,000 11.7 75,878,000 8,899,000

2009

16.4 159,776,000 26,135,000 18.8 84,396,000 15,864,000 13.6 75,380,000 10,271,000

2010

15.9 158,882,000 25,241,000 17.7 84,000,000 14,880,000 13.8 74,882,000 10,360,000

2011

14.9 159,693,000 23,739,000 15.8 83,715,000 13,262,000 13.8 75,978,000 10,477,000

2012

13.9 161,707,000 22,423,000 14.5 84,999,000 12,352,000 13.1 76,708,000 10,071,000

2013

12.9 161,813,000 20,880,000 13.5 85,032,000 11,521,000 12.2 76,781,000 9,359,000

2014

10.9 162,757,000 17,708,000 11.4 85,602,000 9,784,000 10.3 77,156,000 7,924,000

2015

10.2 165,495,000 16,925,000 10.4 87,149,000 9,063,000 10.0 78,347,000 7,862,000

2016

9.4 166,221,000 15,570,000 9.5 87,368,000 8,300,000 9.2 78,853,000 7,270,000

2017

8.6 167,538,000 14,461,000 9.0 88,360,000 7,921,000 8.3 79,177,000 6,540,000

2018

7.8 168,617,000 13,171,000 8.2 88,364,000 7,210,000 7.4 80,253,000 5,962,000

Notes:
1. The work experience unemployment rate is the number of persons who experienced unemployment during the calendar year as a percent of all persons who worked or looked for work during the calendar year.
2. Data for 1966 forward refer to persons 16 years and over; 14 years and over for prior years.

Among men who worked or looked for work in 2018, 8.2 percent experienced unemployment. They continued to have a higher rate than women, 7.4 percent. The rates for men and women were the lowest in the history of both series. From 2017 to 2018, the rate for men decreased by 0.8 percentage point, compared with a decrease of 0.9 percentage point for women.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Work Experience of the Population — 2018."

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 7.8 percent of people who worked or looked for work experienced unemployment in 2018 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/7-point-8-percent-of-people-who-worked-or-looked-for-work-experienced-unemployment-in-2018.htm (visited August 06, 2020).

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