Work status of U.S. families improved slightly in 2012

Updated: 2013-04-26T20:47:37Z


The Kansas City Star

The percentage of American families that had at least one unemployed member declined by one percentage point in 2012 from 2011, the government reported Friday.

Among the nation’s 80.1 million families, the number with at least one unemployed person dropped to 8.4 million, compared with 9 million a year earlier. That was a decline to 10.5 percent of all families, down from 11.5 percent.

On the employment side, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said 80 percent of families had at least one member who worked at some time during 2012. That was a slight increase from 79.8 percent in 2011.

The employment data indicated that 88.1 percent of Asian-American families had at least one employed member, as did 84.6 percent of Hispanic families, 80.1 percent of white families and 75.4 percent of black families.

Nearly 82 percent of married-couple families had an employed member. Both the husband and the wife were employed in 47.4 percent of married-couple families last year, the bureau said.

The husband was the only worker in 20.2 percent of married-couple families. The wife was the only worker in 8 percent of those families.

In families headed by women with no spouse present, 72.4 percent had an employed member. In families headed by men with no spouse, 81.6 percent had an employed member.

Among the nation’s 34.6 million families with children under age 18, 87.8 percent had at least one employed parent, the bureau said. That was up slightly from 87.2 percent in 2011.

The share of married-couple families with children where both parents worked was 59 percent last year, the bureau reported.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to

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