Economic News Release

Work Experience summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, December 11, 2013      USDL-13-2350

Technical information: (202) 691-6378  •  •
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  •


A total of 156.2 million persons worked at some point during 2012, 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 2012 was 63.8 percent, up from 63.3 percent in 2011.
The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2012
decreased by 1.3 million to 22.4 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 2012 data:

   • The proportion of workers who worked full time, year round in
     2012 was 65.5 percent, little different 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--fell by 1.0 percentage point over the year to 13.9 percent in 
     2012. (See table 3.)

   • About 5.5 million individuals looked for a job but did not work
     at all in 2012, down from 6.2 million in 2011. (See table 3.)

Persons with Employment

The proportion of men who worked during 2012 was 69.5 percent, up from
68.8 percent in 2011. The proportion of women who worked at some point
during 2012 was 58.4 percent, little changed from 2011. (See table 1.)

The proportions of whites (64.5 percent), blacks (59.1 percent), Asians 
(64.5 percent), and Hispanics (64.3 percent) who worked at some time 
during 2012 increased from 2011. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience during 2012, 78.4 percent usually
worked full time, little different from 2011. Men continued to be more
likely to work full time during the year (84.5 percent) than women
(71.5 percent). The proportions of employed men and women working full
time showed little change over the year. (See table 1.)

Of the total who worked during 2012, 76.7 percent were employed year
round (working 50 to 52 weeks, either full or part time), little
changed from 2011. The percentage of women working year round
decreased by 0.8 percentage point to 74.7 percent in 2012, while the
percentage of men employed year round was little changed at 78.5

Persons with Unemployment

Overall, 161.7 million persons worked or looked for work at some time
in 2012. Of those, 22.4 million experienced some unemployment during
the year, 1.3 million fewer than in 2011. Men accounted for a
disproportionately large share of the over-the-year decline in those
who experienced some unemployment. (See table 3.)

At 13.9 percent in 2012, 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) was 1.0 percentage point lower than
in 2011. The work-experience unemployment rates for whites (12.8
percent) and blacks (20.6 percent) declined from 2011 to 2012, while 
the rates for Asians (10.6 percent) and Hispanics (17.3 percent) 
changed little. (See tables 3 and 4.)

Overall, men continued to have higher work-experience unemployment
rates in 2012 than women, 14.5 percent versus 13.1 percent. Among 
whites, blacks, and Hispanics, the rates for men were higher than the 
rates for women. Among Asians, the rates for men and women were little 
different from each other.

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2012, the median number of
weeks spent looking for work fell to 18.4, following 3 years of little
movement. The number of persons who looked for a job but did not work 
at all in 2012 declined by 701,000 over the year to 5.5 million. Of the
16.9 million individuals who worked during 2012 and also experienced 
unemployment, 22.2 percent had two or more spells of joblessness, up 
from 20.1 percent in 2011. (See table 3.)

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Last Modified Date: December 11, 2013
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