April 29, 2014

“BLS: In 20% of American Families, No One Works”

I am the 80 percent!

CNS News:

In 20 percent of American families in 2013, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), not one member of the family worked.

A family, as defined by the BLS, is a group of two or more people who live together and who are related by birth, adoption or marriage. In 2013, there were 80,445,000 families in the United States and in 16,127,000—or 20 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 16,127,000 families in which no one held jobs could have been either unemployed or not in the labor force. BLS designates a person as unemployed if they did not have a job but were actively seeking one. BLS designates someone as not in the labor force if they did not have a job and were not actively seeking one. (An elderly couple, in which both the husband and wife are retired, would count as a family in which no one held a job.)


The data on employment in families is based on Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey of the civilian noninstitutional population, which includes people 16 and older, who are not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, nursing home or mental hospital.

Remind me to confront my parents for all their bullshit talk about how I should work hard and try to succeed on my own.  I mean, all this time I could have had the 4 of 5 families in which someone is gainfully employing pitching in to keep my family in subsidies and welfare benefits.  What a sucker I am!

And even if I wanted to work — if I was ashamed of being on the dole in some way — that would just be the poison residue of some Protestant work ethic and rugged individualism that at one time formed the narrative of our country, essentially to keep us enslaved to the capitalist machinery and vulgar consumerism.   So I shouldn’t be ashamed of being ashamed:  I was inscribed that way by a faulty economic system and then had the message reinforced by capitalist propaganda tools like, eg., “The Brady Bunch.”

I blame old dead white slaveowners.

And what the hell.  Bush, too.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:40am

Comments (10)

  1. the NYT had a pictorial gallery I accidentally clicked on yesterday

    about white trash in West Virginia

    it was really pretty

    but there they were in the middle of fucking nowhere

    and this one guy was pictured – he was ambulatory is really all you could tell

    but he was whining about how his $1700 a month disability was all his family had

    which is a nice little check if you ask me – it’s definitely enough to keep your little boat in the water while you figure something out

    and I was thinking dude get it together don’t get it twisted

    but I’m not very hopeful that he will

  2. First!

    I’m surprised in this economy it’s only 20%.

    I wonder how much of the other 80 consists of people only working 29 hours or less each week.

  3. I blame old dead white television executives, too.

  4. I would like to see the numbers re-ran without the retired couples included.

  5. I was wondering the same thing, bear. I may have to dig around to see if BLS offers any reports sorted by age of head-of-household.

  6. You can’t blame the dead. The dead are righteous now and so vote democrat.

  7. I’ll be damned if I can find a BLS report that shows family employment by age of householder. They call themselves data monkeys? Losers.

  8. “during the survey reference week”

    So this number would include a lot of jobs that do not labor steadily (e.g. teachers during the summer, oil rig workers, construction workers).

    That’s like taking a survey at 8PM and saying “Only 20% of Americans work” because at the time the survey was taken, nobody with a day-job was at work.

  9. Count your blessings, Awesome. The alternative would be data showing that 80% of us were unemployed, because at some point during the year we took a couple of weeks off.

    I mean, it’s what they do to the data on hunger, so why wouldn’t the same come into play here?