Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Reason for absence from work

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


WHYABSNT reports the reason for the absence of jobholders who were not working during the preceding week.


The basic survey question--"Why was [this person] absent from work last week?"--remained constant, but the number and detail of recognized responses grew. For ASEC samples from 1962-1967, only five reasons were recorded: illness; vacation; labor dispute; bad weather; and other. For 1968-1993, three more reasons were added: temporary layoff (under 30 days); indefinite layoff (more than 30 days or without a definite return date); and new job to begin within 30 days. The 1994 survey redesign collapsed the "layoff" categories added for 1968-1993, into "layoff" and "slack work/business conditions" (for 1994-1996), and then to just "slack work/business conditions" (for 1997 onward). The "waiting for new job to begin" category was also dropped beginning in 1997. Simultaneously, the survey redesign added several new responses: childcare problems; other family/personal obligation; maternity/paternity leave; school/training; civic/military duty; and does not work in business. For comparability across all years, users must collapse much of the detail (for responses other than illness, vacation, labor dispute, and bad weather) into the nonspecific "other" category.


  • 1962-1967 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+ with a job but absent from work last week (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1968-1988: Civilians age 14+ with a job but absent from work last week.
  • 1989+: Civilians age 15+ with a job but absent from work last week.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1962 – 1975 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1976 – 2023 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2024 X X - X X X X - - - - - -