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Economic News Release
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Employment Characteristics of Families Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 21, 2020 	             USDL-20-0670

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


              EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES -- 2019


In 2019, 4.9 percent of families included an unemployed person, down from
5.2 percent in 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Of
the nation's 82.6 million families, 81.1 percent had at least one employed
member in 2019.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are
collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey
of about 60,000 households. Data in this news release are annual averages.
Families are classified either as married-couple families or as families
maintained by women or men without spouses present. Unless otherwise noted,
families include those with and without children under age 18. For further
information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Families and Unemployment

The number of families with at least one member unemployed decreased by
224,000 to 4.1 million in 2019. The proportion of families with an unemployed
person declined by 0.3 percentage point to 4.9 percent. (This is the lowest
proportion since 1994, the first year for which comparable data are available.)
In 2019, the proportion of families with an unemployed person was down for
White (4.5 percent), Black (7.9 percent), Asian (4.1 percent), and Hispanic
(6.6 percent) families. Black and Hispanic families remained more likely
to have an unemployed member than White or Asian families. (See table 1.) 

In 2019, among families with an unemployed member, 71.2 percent also had at
least one family member employed, up from 70.0 percent in the prior year.
The proportion of families with an unemployed member that had at least one
family member working full time grew to 62.4 percent in 2019. 

Among families with an unemployed member, Black families remained less likely
to also have at least one family member who was working (60.2 percent) than
White (73.7 percent), Asian (82.4 percent), and Hispanic (73.9 percent)
families. In 2019, the likelihood of families with an unemployed member also
having an employed family member increased for White and Hispanic families,
but changed little for Black and Asian families. 

In 2019, 3.9 percent of married-couple families had an unemployed member,
less than the corresponding percentages of families maintained by men or
families maintained by women (7.8 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively).
Among families with an unemployed member, those maintained by women were
less likely to also have an employed family member (53.7 percent) than 
families maintained by men and married-couple families (61.4 percent and
82.1 percent, respectively). (See table 3.)

Families and Employment

In 2019, 81.1 percent of families had at least one employed family member,
up from the prior year (80.8 percent). From 2018 to 2019, the likelihood
of having an employed family member increased for White (80.6 percent),
Black (80.0 percent), and Hispanic (88.3 percent) families and was little
different for Asian (88.4 percent) families. (See table 1.)

Families maintained by women remained less likely to have an employed
member (78.5 percent) in 2019 than families maintained by men (85.5 percent)
or married-couple families (81.2 percent). Among married-couple families,
both the husband and wife were employed in 49.4 percent of families. In
18.5 percent of married-couple families only the husband was employed,
and in 6.8 percent only the wife was employed. (See table 2.)

Families with Children

In 2019, 33.4 million families, or two-fifths of all families, included
children under age 18. (Children are sons, daughters, step-children, or
adopted children living in the household who are under age 18. Not included
are nieces, nephews, grandchildren, other related and unrelated children,
and children not living in the household.) At least one parent was employed
in 91.3 percent of families with children, an increase of 0.5 percentage
point from the previous year. Among married-couple families with children,
97.5 percent had at least one employed parent in 2019, and 64.2 percent had
both parents employed. Among families maintained by fathers, 85.2 percent
of fathers were employed, a greater share than the 75.4 percent of employed
mothers in families maintained by mothers. (See tables 1 and 4.)

Parents

The labor force participation rate--the percent of the population working
or looking for work--for all women with children under age 18 was 72.3 percent
in 2019, up from 71.5 percent in the prior year. Married mothers remained
less likely to participate in the labor force, at 69.9 percent, than mothers
with other marital statuses, at 77.6 percent. (Other marital status includes
persons who are never married; widowed; divorced; separated; and married,
spouse absent; as well as persons in same-sex marriages.) The unemployment
rate for married mothers was also considerably lower than for mothers with
other marital statuses--2.3 percent, compared with 5.9 percent. (See table 5.) 

Mothers with young children are less likely to be in the labor force than
those with older children. In 2019, the labor force participation rate of
mothers with children under age 6, at 66.4 percent, was lower than the rate
of those whose youngest child was age 6 to 17, at 76.8 percent. Among mothers
with children under age 3, the participation rate of married mothers was lower
than the rate of mothers with other marital statuses (62.2 percent versus 66.6
percent). The unemployment rate of mothers who were married and had children
under age 3, at 2.3 percent, was substantially lower than the rate for their
counterparts with other marital statuses, at 8.3 percent. (See tables 5 and 6.)

The labor force participation rate for all fathers with children under age 18
changed little at 93.4 percent in 2019. The participation rate for married
fathers, at 94.2 percent, continued to be higher than the rate of fathers
with other marital statuses (88.5 percent). Married fathers also continued
to have a lower unemployment rate (1.7 percent) than fathers with other marital
statuses (5.3 percent). (See table 5.)

Employed fathers remained more likely to work full time than employed mothers
in 2019; 96.2 percent of employed fathers worked full time, compared with 78.5
percent of employed mothers. Among employed mothers, those with older children
were more likely to work full time than those with younger children. In 2019,
80.3 percent of employed mothers with children ages 6 to 17 worked full time,
compared with 75.8 percent of mothers with children under age 6. Employed
fathers with younger and older children were about equally likely to work
full time, at 96.1 percent and 96.2 percent, respectively. 



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Last Modified Date: April 21, 2020