Employment Characteristics of Families Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 20, 2017                       USDL-17-0444

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


                       EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES -- 2016


In 2016, 6.5 percent of families included an unemployed person, down from 6.9 percent in
2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation's 82.1 million
families, 80.4 percent had at least one employed member in 2016.

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 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 without children as well as those with
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 314,000 to 5.3
million in 2016. The proportion of families with an unemployed person declined by 0.4
percentage point to 6.5 percent. Black and Hispanic families remained more likely to
have an unemployed member in 2016 (10.9 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively) than
White or Asian families (5.7 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively). This proportion
is down over the year for White, Black, and Hispanic families. (See table 1.)

Just over two-thirds (69.0 percent) of families with an unemployed member also had at
least one family member who was employed in 2016, and 59.7 percent had at least one
family member who was working full time. Both measures are up over the year. In 2016,
Black families with an unemployed member remained less likely to also have an employed
family member (57.8 percent) than White (72.3 percent), Asian (76.9 percent), or
Hispanic families (72.6 percent). (See table 1.)

In 2016, 3.1 million married-couple families had an unemployed member (5.2 percent),
less than the corresponding percentages of families maintained by women or families
maintained by men (9.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively). Among families with at
least one unemployed family member, those maintained by women were less likely to also
have an employed family member (50.1 percent) than families maintained by men and
married-couple families (58.5 percent and 80.4 percent, respectively). This proportion
for married-couple families and families maintained by men was about the same as in
the prior year, while it increased by 1.9 percentage points for families maintained by
women. (See tables 2 and 3.)

Families and Employment

In 2016, 80.4 percent of families had at least one employed family member, little
different from the prior year. Over the year, the likelihood of having an employed
family member was about unchanged among White (80.2 percent), Black (77.8 percent),
Asian (88.5 percent), and Hispanic families (86.7 percent). (See table 1.)

In 2016, families maintained by women remained less likely to have an employed member
(76.6 percent) than families maintained by men (83.6 percent) or married-couple families
(81.1 percent). Among married-couple families, both the husband and wife were employed
in 48.0 percent of families; in 19.5 percent of married-couple families only the husband
was employed, and in 7.1 percent only the wife was employed. (See table 2.)

Families with Children

In 2016, 34.2 million families included children under age 18, about two-fifths of all
families. (Children are sons, daughters, step-children, or adopted children living in the
household who are under 18 years old. 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 89.7 percent of families with children in 2016. Among married-
couple families with children, 96.8 percent had at least one employed parent and 61.1
percent had both parents employed. Among families of other marital statuses with children,
the mother was employed in 72.5 percent of those maintained by mothers, and the father was
employed in 82.6 percent of those maintained by fathers; both of these measures were up
over the year. (Other marital status refers to persons who never married or are widowed,
divorced, separated, or married but living apart from their spouse, as well as persons
in same-sex marriages.) (See table 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 70.5 percent in 2016. The
participation rate for married mothers (67.9 percent) remained lower than the rate 
for mothers with other marital statuses (76.0 percent). The unemployment rate for
married mothers was also considerably lower than for mothers with other marital
statuses--3.2 percent, compared with 7.8 percent. (See table 5.)

Mothers with younger children are less likely to be in the labor force than mothers
with older children. In 2016, the labor force participation rate of mothers with
children under 6 years old was lower than the rate of those whose youngest child was
6 to 17 years old (64.7 percent versus 75.0 percent). The participation rate of
mothers with infants under a year old was 58.6 percent. Among mothers with infants,
the participation rate of married mothers was lower than the rate of mothers with
other marital statuses--57.6 percent versus 60.8 percent. The unemployment rate of
mothers with infants who were married, at 3.0 percent, was substantially lower than
the rate for mothers with other marital statuses, at 12.2 percent. (See tables 5
and 6.)

In 2016, 92.8 percent of all men with children under age 18 participated in the labor
force. The participation rate for married fathers, at 93.6 percent, continued to be
higher than the rate of fathers with other marital statuses (87.7 percent). Married
fathers also continued to have a lower unemployment rate (2.6 percent) than fathers
with other marital statuses (7.0 percent). (See table 5.)

In 2016, 95.6 percent of employed fathers worked full time, compared with 76.3 percent
of employed mothers. Among employed mothers, those with young children were somewhat
less likely to work full time than those with older children. Employed fathers were
about equally likely to work full time, regardless of the age of their children. (See
tables 5 and 6.)



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Last Modified Date: April 20, 2017