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April 1982, Vol. 105, No. 4
Unemployment and its effect
on family income in 1980
Sylvia Lazos Terry
Data from the "work experience" survey conducted in March 1981 show that, with the weakening of the economy in 1980, the total number of persons who were unemployed for at least 1 week during the year rose to 21.4 million, nearly 3 million more than in 1979. This represented 18.1 percent of all persons who were in the labor force for any part of 1980, well above the comparable proportion for 1979 15.8 percentbut still below the 1975 high of 20.2 percent. Also reflecting the impact of the 1980 recession was the relatively small increase recorded in the number of persons with jobs. About 115.8 million were employed during all or part of 1980, an increase of less than 800,000 over 1979 and the smallest annual increase since 1975.1
The work experience survey is conducted each March as a supplement to the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). In this supplement, respondents are queried concerning their employment and unemployment experience, personal earnings, and family income for the preceding year.
This excerpt is from an article published in the April 1982 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The work experience numbers reported here have been inflated using population weights based on results from 1980 Census of the Population. The previously published 1979 work experience data, as they appeared in the June 1981 Monthly Labor Review, reflected population weights projected forward from the 1970 Census of the Population. The revision of the 1979 data raised the number of persons who worked or looked for work by 2.3 million and the number experiencing some unemployment by 500,000. Despite these significant changes in the data for 1979, the various relationships and rates based on the new estimates are nearly the same as those based on the previously published estimates. For example, the percent of the population with some unemployment in 1979 was estimated at 15.7 percent using the 1970 population weights and 15.8 percent using the 1980 weights. For further comparisons see Press Release USDL 81-413.
Because the numbers in this report are based on a sample they are subject to sampling error. Standard error tables, which estimate the magnitude of sampling errors, are available upon request. As in any survey, the results are also subject to errors in response and reporting. These may be relatively large in the case of persons with irregular attachment to the labor force.
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