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Hours worked last week


AHRSWORKT is a 3-digit numeric variable.

999 = NIU (Not in universe)


AHRSWORKT reports the total number of hours the respondent was at work during the previous week. For employers and the self-employed, this includes all hours spent attending to their operation(s) or enterprise(s). For employees, it is the number of hours they spent at work. For unpaid family workers, it is the number of hours spent doing work directly related to the family business or farm (not including housework).

See the Hours Worked Variables Notes for an overview of the different actual and usual hours worked variables.


This variable is comparable over time, with the exceptions noted below.

The top-code in the 1962 and 1968-2014 ASEC samples is 99, but for 1963-1967 the top-code is 98. Additionally, in non-ASEC samples the top-code increased from 99 to 198 beginning January 1994, though for ASEC samples the top-code remained at 99.

The code "0" in the original CPS variable for most years means not in universe (NIU), and has been recoded to reflect this in AHRSWORKT. Thus for most years there is no code "0" for AHRSWORKT. The exception to this is the 1962 ASEC, where the code "0" mostly appears to mean "no hours" though an individual may be currently employed. A few of those with code "0" in 1962, however, are out of the labor force. Thus AHRSWORKT may need to be used along with, for example, EMPSTAT in any analysis, or to make this variable comparable with future years. There are also 2 observations with the code "0" in 1966.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

For AHRSWORKT, as for other variables related to employment, the census used a lower age limit of 16 beginning in 1980. The CPS lower age limit was age 14 through 1979 and age 15 beginning in 1980. Because the CPS is designed to measure the labor force experience of civilians, members of the armed forces were not asked this question in the survey. Persons in the military are included in the census data. The census collected information by single hours worked in 1980 and 1990, and this is included in the comparable IPUMS-USA variable HRSWORK1. In 1960 and 1970, the census data are available only in intervalled form in the variable HRSWORK2. To achieve comparability between IPUMS-CPS and IPUMS-USA for these years, researchers must recode the survey data into broad intervals, top-coded at 60 hours.


  • 1962-1988 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+, at work last week (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1989+ 2017: Civilians age 15+, at work last week.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1962 – 1988 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1989 – 2016 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2017 X X X X X X X X X X X - -