The number of American families with an unemployed family member in the home fell nearly a full percent from 2012 to 2013, according to statistics gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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In 2012, 10.5 percent of families included an unemployed person. In 2013, 9.6 percent of families included an unemployed person. 

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The BLS monthly survey of 60,000 households teased out a vast array of data on families and employment. Its analysis by race included these findings: 

  • Black and Hispanic families remained more likely to have an unemployed member in 2013 (16 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively) than white and Asian families (8.5 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively).

  • The percent of black and Hispanic families with at least one unemployed person both fell from 2012, when they were 16.8 percent and 14.5 percent respectively. 

  • White and Asian households with at least one unemployed person also decreased from 2012 to 2013, with Asian households showing the largest decline of all the major race categories — from 9.2 percent in 2012 to 7.8 percent in 2013. The percentage of white households fell a full percent, from 9.5 to 8.5. 

  • The likelihood of having an employed family member rose in 2013 for Asian families (to 88.8 percent) and for Hispanic families (to 85.1 percent). The likelihood for white and black families showed little or no change (80.1 percent and 75.7 percent, respectively).

When the BLS looked at data by family structure, they produced these findings:

  • Both the husband and wife were employed in 47.4 percent of married-couple families in 2013.

  • Among married-couple families with an unemployed member, the proportion of families with at least one employed family member was 79.4 percent in 2013, down from 80.2 percent in 2012.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.