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Reason not working last year

Codes and Frequencies

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WHYNWLY reports the main reason given for not working at all during the previous calendar year.


This variable consistently includes 5 responses: could not find work; ill or disabled; taking care of home/family; going to school; and other. Additional responses added in later years are "in Armed Forces" (for 1968-1983) and "retired" (for 1968 onward). These can be subsumed into the "other" category to attain comparability over time.


  • 1963-1967: Civilians age 14+ who worked less than 50 weeks last year, and who were coded as "Match" in the "February-March match" variable (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1968-1979: Civilians age 14+ who did not work last year.
  • 1980-1989: Civilians age 15+ who did not work last year.
  • 1990-2023: Persons age 15+ who did not work last year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1963 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -



Unharmonized Variables