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Employment of young men after arrest or incarceration

May 20, 2019

Men born in the years 1980–84 who had a first incarceration lasting more than 6 months and ending at age 19 or older were much less likely to have jobs after their incarceration than other men. A little over one-third of these men had a job in the first few weeks after their release from jail or prison. By about 10 to 12 weeks after their release, about half had jobs. From then to week 78 (that is, a year and a half) after release, the share with jobs ranged between 50 and 58 percent.

Percent of men born in 1980–84 who were employed in each week after arrest or incarceration or after age 23 if never arrested or incarcerated
Week Not arrested, not incarcerated Arrested, not incarcerated Incarcerated 6 months or less Incarcerated more than 6 months

Week 1

82.1% 70.0% 66.2% 33.9%

Week 2

82.2 70.5 66.4 39.3

Week 3

82.2 71.1 68.4 40.9

Week 4

82.3 70.7 70.3 42.9

Week 5

82.4 71.1 68.8 44.5

Week 6

82.7 71.8 68.1 45.7

Week 7

82.4 70.6 70.0 45.6

Week 8

82.4 70.9 69.0 47.5

Week 9

83.0 70.3 67.8 47.8

Week 10

83.0 71.3 69.4 50.3

Week 11

83.1 71.2 69.8 51.8

Week 12

83.0 72.2 68.8 50.8

Week 13

83.6 71.2 68.5 51.1

Week 14

83.5 71.3 67.8 52.3

Week 15

84.2 71.0 68.1 53.4

Week 16

84.1 70.2 67.0 53.0

Week 17

84.5 70.2 66.0 53.1

Week 18

84.5 70.4 66.1 49.9

Week 19

84.5 70.5 68.0 53.3

Week 20

84.6 69.6 67.5 53.8

Week 21

84.5 69.9 71.3 54.3

Week 22

84.6 68.9 70.8 52.5

Week 23

84.6 69.6 70.5 51.8

Week 24

85.0 71.3 68.1 51.0

Week 25

84.8 70.0 72.5 51.7

Week 26

84.8 69.5 72.7 51.0

Week 27

84.1 69.2 72.1 52.8

Week 28

84.5 69.3 71.4 54.0

Week 29

84.3 68.9 70.2 53.7

Week 30

84.8 69.5 69.5 55.6

Week 31

84.7 70.2 68.9 55.6

Week 32

84.8 71.9 66.7 55.9

Week 33

84.8 70.8 66.3 55.3

Week 34

84.9 71.0 66.3 56.1

Week 35

85.1 71.1 67.0 53.3

Week 36

85.2 72.0 67.9 54.1

Week 37

85.5 73.0 70.4 54.1

Week 38

85.5 72.7 70.7 55.0

Week 39

85.6 71.3 70.3 55.2

Week 40

85.0 72.0 71.1 54.0

Week 41

84.4 72.8 69.6 55.4

Week 42

85.2 73.4 70.0 55.9

Week 43

85.5 73.9 70.7 54.3

Week 44

85.5 74.6 70.9 54.3

Week 45

85.4 75.7 71.5 55.1

Week 46

85.4 75.8 71.0 54.1

Week 47

85.4 75.9 70.8 55.5

Week 48

85.6 75.9 69.8 53.5

Week 49

85.5 76.8 69.6 54.1

Week 50

85.4 76.3 68.0 54.8

Week 51

85.3 76.5 67.7 53.8

Week 52

85.9 76.1 68.6 53.9

Week 53

86.1 75.8 69.6 53.2

Week 54

86.1 75.9 67.2 52.7

Week 55

85.4 74.7 67.8 55.1

Week 56

85.3 74.0 68.9 56.6

Week 57

86.0 74.1 70.1 55.8

Week 58

85.7 74.3 71.1 56.8

Week 59

85.7 73.8 71.3 55.9

Week 60

86.2 74.1 72.6 55.9

Week 61

86.1 74.3 72.9 56.0

Week 62

86.0 73.3 72.4 56.2

Week 63

86.5 74.5 71.3 55.3

Week 64

86.3 73.4 72.8 55.1

Week 65

86.4 74.0 70.5 54.8

Week 66

86.5 74.5 70.6 54.7

Week 67

87.1 75.0 70.5 55.7

Week 68

87.1 74.8 71.2 55.1

Week 69

86.6 74.2 71.3 55.5

Week 70

86.9 74.3 71.2 53.9

Week 71

87.0 74.3 74.7 55.7

Week 72

87.1 73.5 74.5 55.5

Week 73

86.6 73.2 73.8 55.7

Week 74

87.0 74.5 74.2 55.8

Week 75

86.7 74.7 75.3 56.9

Week 76

86.6 74.6 75.2 57.5

Week 77

86.9 75.5 74.9 57.0

Week 78

87.0 75.1 74.0 55.8

By comparison, about two-thirds of men who were incarcerated for 6 months or less had a job in their first few weeks after release. The share with jobs ranged between 66 and 75 percent for the first 78 weeks after release. Men who were arrested but never incarcerated at age 19 or older were about as likely to have jobs after their arrest as men who were incarcerated for 6 months or less.

Among men who had never been arrested or incarcerated, the share who were employed ranged between 82 and 87 percent each week after age 23.

The likelihood of being arrested or incarcerated differs by race and ethnicity. Black men were much more likely to have been incarcerated for more than 6 months (13.6 percent) than nonblack, non-Hispanic men (4.1 percent) or Hispanic men (6.4 percent).

Percent of men born in 1980–84 who were ever arrested or incarcerated at age 19 or older, by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Arrest or incarceration history Nonblack, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic

Not arrested, not incarcerated

68.3% 54.9% 63.0%

Arrested, not incarcerated

20.7 25.4 22.8

Incarcerated 6 months or less

6.9 6.2 7.8

Incarcerated more than 6 months

4.1 13.6 6.4

These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys program. The data examined here are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, a nationally representative sample of 8,984 men and women born from 1980 to 1984 and living in the United States at the time of the first survey in 1997. These people were ages 30 to 36 in the 2015–16 interviews.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment of young men after arrest or incarceration on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/employment-of-young-men-after-arrest-or-incarceration.htm (visited September 30, 2020).

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