Codes and Frequencies
WNFTLOOK reports the amount of time that had passed since persons who were unemployed (i.e., who were actively looking for work or were on layoff) had last worked. For 1968-1993, WNFTLOOK records answers to the question, "When did [this person] last work at a full-time at a job or business lasting 2 consecutive weeks or more?" Beginning in 1994, the question was simply, "When did you last work at a job or business?"
Because of the aforementioned difference in the question wording for 1968-1993 versus 1994 forward, this variable is not fully comparable across these two periods.
For 1968-1993, because of the stringent definition of work (full-time employment for 2 or more consecutive weeks), responses in WNFTLOOK are not necessarily synonymous with the last period of paid employment for those who were unemployed at the time of the survey. For example, a person who had worked a part-time job for most of the last year, and had worked a full-time job before that, would be coded as "one to five years ago" (code 12) in WNFTLOOK. By contrast, for 1994 forward, when individuals were simply asked when they last worked, responses in WNFTLOOK do indicate the last period of paid employment for the unemployed. The same pattern of employment (working a part-time job for most of the past year, and a full-time job before that) would be coded as "in the last 12 months" (code 11) under the more generous definition of work for 1994 forward.
Changes in the time periods coded for WNFTLOOK also limit the comparability of the variable over time. For 1968-1987, four responses (less than five years ago, more than five years ago, never worked full-time 2 weeks or more, and never worked at all) were coded. For 1988-1993, responses relating to work within the last five years were subdivided into two categories (in the last 12 months, 1-5 years ago). For 1994 forward, only two time periods for past employment were recognized (in the last 12 months, more than 12 months ago).
- 1968-1979: Civilians age 14+ who were actively looking for work or were on layoff during the preceding week.
- 1980-1994: Civilians age 15+ who were actively looking for work or were on layoff during the preceding week.
- 1995-2018 2018: Civilans age 15+ who were actively looking for work during the preceding week.
|1968 – 1993||-||-||X||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1994 – 2017||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|