Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

People not looking for work because of COVID-19

November 12, 2021

In October 2021, 7.9 percent of people who were not in the labor force but wanted to work were prevented from looking for a job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was down from 52.6 percent in May 2020, the first month these data were collected. To be counted as unemployed, a person must be actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.

Percent of people not in the labor force who want a job but were prevented from looking for work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020–October 2021
Month Total, 16 years and older     16 to 24 years     25 to 54 years     55 years and older Men Women

May 2020

52.6% 48.4% 57.6% 48.2% 51.9% 53.3%

Jun 2020

43.3 39.0 46.9 41.8 41.0 45.5

Jul 2020

38.4 38.3 37.6 40.1 39.3 37.7

Aug 2020

32.6 28.3 35.5 31.6 30.9 34.2

Sep 2020

29.9 19.8 34.2 30.9 28.9 30.8

Oct 2020

26.0 19.9 28.9 26.0 23.4 28.3

Nov 2020

28.4 20.3 31.4 29.8 26.9 29.9

Dec 2020

30.8 27.4 34.4 27.5 29.2 32.3

Jan 2021

29.8 22.1 32.9 31.2 27.8 31.5

Feb 2021

26.0 17.5 28.2 29.0 22.7 29.0

Mar 2021

22.0 19.9 20.6 26.6 21.1 22.8

Apr 2021

18.5 12.0 20.9 21.0 15.9 20.9

May 2021

16.5 9.0 20.7 18.7 14.3 18.6

Jun 2021

9.3 3.6 12.1 11.1 7.5 11.0

Jul 2021

9.3 5.8 10.2 11.1 7.9 10.5

Aug 2021

11.4 4.9 13.1 14.2 9.6 12.7

Sep 2021

8.4 3.7 10.1 10.1 5.8 10.4

Oct 2021

7.9 4.8 9.1 8.6 7.4 8.3

The share of people who were not in the labor force and wanted a job but did not look for work because of the pandemic varied across age groups. In October 2021, a smaller percentage of people ages 16 to 24 did not look for work because of the pandemic (4.8 percent), compared with people ages 25 to 54 (9.1 percent) and those age 55 and older (8.6 percent).

Women who wanted a job were more likely than men to be prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic in October.

For all groups, the share of people not in the labor force who wanted a job but were prevented from looking for work because of the pandemic is substantially lower than in May 2020.

These data are from the Current Population Survey and are not seasonally adjusted. For more information, see Supplemental data measuring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, People not looking for work because of COVID-19 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/people-not-looking-for-work-because-of-covid-19.htm (visited October 03, 2022).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics



triangle