October 13, 1998
Young persons held an average of 8.6 jobs from ages 18 to 32, with more than half of the job changes occurring before age 23. On average, men held 8.9 jobs and women held 8.3 jobs from ages 18 to 32.
The average number of jobs held from ages 18 to 22 was 4.4. Those who eventually obtained a college degree usually held more jobs between the ages of 18 and 22 than did those who ended their formal education after high school or before. This was particularly true for women--those women who became college graduates held 5.3 jobs while ages 18 to 22, compared with 3.9 jobs for high school graduates and 3.1 jobs for high school dropouts. The relatively larger number of jobs among those who attended college may be explained by the fact that college students hold summer jobs and part-time jobs while attending school.
By age 32, whites held more jobs than either blacks or Hispanics, with the differences more pronounced at younger ages. Between the ages of 18 to 22, whites held 4.6 jobs, compared with 3.6 for blacks and 4.0 for Hispanics. However, these racial differences nearly disappeared at older ages.
These data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a survey of 9,964 young men and women who were 14 to 22 years of age when first interviewed in 1979 and 31 to 39 when last interviewed in 1996. The survey provides information on work and nonwork experiences, training, schooling, income and assets, health conditions, and other characteristics. Additional information is available on Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth: Results from a Longitudinal Survey.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, People average 8.6 jobs from ages 18 to 32 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1998/oct/wk2/art01.htm (visited November 30, 2015).
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.