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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

Work Experience summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, December 8, 2010             USDL-10-1688

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

                       WORK EXPERIENCE OF THE POPULATION -- 2009

A total of 153.9 million persons worked at some point during 2009, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The proportion of workers who worked
full time, year round in 2009 was 64.0 percent, down from 65.6 percent in 2008.
The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2009 increased
by 4.9 million to 26.1 million. The sharp increase reflects the continuing weak
labor market conditions experienced throughout 2009.//WORK ZUNI3PO Test 10272020// 

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 Statis-
tics. 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 2009 data include:

   --The proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over
     who worked at some time during 2009 was 64.9 percent, down from 67.0 percent
     in 2008. (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--was 16.4 percent
     in 2009, up from 13.2 percent in 2008. (See table 3.)

   --The number of individuals who looked for a job but did not work at all
     during 2009 increased by 2.7 million over the year to 5.8 million. (See
     table 3.)

Persons with Employment

The percent of men who worked during 2009 was 70.6 percent, down from 73.1 per-
cent in 2008. The proportion of women who worked at some point during 2009 was
59.6 percent, down from 61.3 percent in the prior year. (See table 1.)

The proportions of whites (65.8 percent), blacks (58.8 percent), Asians (65.2
percent), and Hispanics (65.0 percent) who worked at some time during the year
fell in 2009. (See table 2.)

Among those with work experience during 2009, 75.3 percent were employed year round
(working 50 to 52 weeks, either full or part time), down from 76.1 percent in 2008.
The percentage of women working year round rose by 0.8 percentage point to 75.1 per-
cent in 2009, and the percentage of men employed year round fell by 2.2 percentage
points to 75.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Of those employed at some time during 2009, 78.3 percent usually worked full time,
down from 79.5 percent in 2008. Men were more likely to work full time during the
year (84.4 percent) than were women (71.5 percent). In 2009, the proportions of em-
ployed men and women working full time declined by 1.6 and 0.7 percentage points,

Persons with Unemployment

About 159.8 million persons worked or looked for work at some time in 2009. Of those,
26.1 million experienced some unemployment during the year, up from 21.2 million in
2008. Men accounted for the majority of the over-the-year increase in unemployment.
(See table 3.)

At 16.4 percent in 2009, 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 3.2 percentage points higher than in 2008. The 2009 rate was the highest
since 1985. The rates for whites (15.5 percent), blacks (22.4 percent), Hispanics
(20.9 percent), and Asians (12.6 percent) rose in 2009. (See tables 3 and 4.)

Overall, men continued to have higher "work-experience unemployment rates" in 2009
than women, 18.8 versus 13.6 percent. Among whites, the rate for men (18.1 percent)
was higher than that for women (12.6 percent). This also was the case for men and
women among blacks (26.1 and 19.1 percent, respectively) and Hispanics (23.7 and
16.9 percent, respectively.) The rates for Asian men (12.4 percent) and Asian women
(12.8 percent) were little different.

Among those who experienced unemployment in 2009, the median number of weeks spent
looking for work was 19.7, up from 15.2 in 2008. The number of individuals who looked
for a job but did not work at all increased by 2.7 million to about 5.8 million indi-
viduals in 2009. Of the 20.3 million persons who worked during 2009 and also experi-
enced unemployment, 20.5 percent had 2 or more spells of joblessness, down from 22.1
percent in 2008.

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Last Modified Date: October 27, 2020