Work Experience Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 9, 2016                        USDL-16-2256

Technical information: (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                        WORK EXPERIENCE OF THE POPULATION -- 2015


A total of 162.3 million persons worked at some point during 2015, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. The proportion of the civilian noninstitutional
population age 16 and over who worked at some time during 2015 rose to 64.2 percent,
up from 63.6 percent in 2014. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment
during 2015 declined by 783,000 to 16.9 million.

These data are based on information collected in the Annual Social and Economic
Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey
conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ASEC
collects information on employment and unemployment experienced during the prior
calendar year. Additional information about the CPS and the ASEC, including concepts 
and definitions, is provided in the Technical Note.

Highlights from the 2015 data:

   --The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in 2015 was 68.0
     percent, about unchanged from the prior year. (See table 1.)

   --The "work-experience unemployment rate"--defined as the number of persons
     unemployed at some time during the year as a proportion of the number of
     persons who worked or looked for work during the year--declined by 0.7
     percentage point to 10.2 percent in 2015. (See table 3.)

   --About 3.2 million individuals looked for a job but did not work at all in
     2015, down from 3.7 million in 2014. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

Overall, 64.2 percent of the population worked in 2015, up from 63.6 percent in 2014.
The proportions of both men and women who worked at some point during 2015 increased
to 70.0 percent and 58.8 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

The proportions of Whites (64.9 percent) and Hispanics (65.5 percent) who worked at
some time during 2015 increased from 2014, while the shares of Blacks (60.6 percent)
and Asians (64.0 percent) changed little. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience in 2015, 79.6 percent usually worked full time,
unchanged from a year earlier. In 2015, men (85.6 percent) continued to be more
likely than women (73.0 percent) to work full time during the year. These proportions
were little changed from the prior year. (See table 1.)

Of the total who worked during 2015, 78.6 percent were employed year round (working
50 to 52 weeks, either full or part time), about unchanged from a year earlier. In
2015, the percentages of men (80.9 percent) and women (76.0 percent) working year
round were about unchanged.

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 165.5 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2015, up by
2.7 million from the prior year. Of those, 16.9 million experienced some unemployment
during 2015, down by 783,000 from 2014. (See table 3.)

The work-experience unemployment rate (those looking for work during the year as a
percent of those who worked or looked for work during the year) continued to decline.
At 10.2 percent in 2015, the work-experience unemployment rate was 0.7 percentage
point lower than in 2014. The work-experience unemployment rates for Whites (9.5
percent), Asians (7.3 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent) declined from 2014 to
2015, while the rate for Blacks (15.0 percent) changed little. (See tables 3 and 4.)

In 2015, men continued to have a higher work-experience unemployment rate than women,
10.4 percent versus 10.0 percent. Among Whites and Blacks, the rates for men were
higher than the rates for women. Among Asians, the rate for women was higher than the
rate for men, while the rates for Hispanic men and women were little different from
each other.

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2015, the median number of weeks spent
looking for work was 14.7. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not work
at all in 2015 declined by 534,000 over the year to 3.2 million. Of the 13.8 million
individuals who worked during 2015 and also experienced unemployment, 21.6 percent
had two or more spells of unemployment, little different than the share in 2014.
(See table 3.)



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Last Modified Date: December 09, 2016