Sign "O" the Times

In1in5FamiliesNoOneWorks (1)


A family, as defined by the BLS, is a “group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. In 2014, there were 80,889,000 families in the United States, and in 16,057,000 of those families, or 19.9 percent, no one had a job.

The BLS designates a person as “employed” if “during the survey reference week” they “(a) did any work at all as paid employees; (b) worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; (c) or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family.”

Members of the 16,057,000 families in which no one held jobs could have been either unemployed or not in the labor force.

The chart accompanying the story shows that the 16-17% range is “normal,” but I cannot in my experience even imagine a household in which not one person earns a living.

That’s one in five households, in other words, which the workers in the other four must also support.