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Main reason not looking for work during last four weeks

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WNLOOK identifies the main reason persons who want a job were not looking for work during the previous four weeks.

A similar (though not directly comparable) set of items exist for ASEC samples prior to 1994. Respondents were asked a similar question about the reasons individuals who want a job were not looking for work during the previous week. The items differ in three ways: the universe for whom the items apply, the duration of job search inactivity (four weeks compared to one week), and pre-1994 respondents were allowed to give multiple responses similar to the response choices for WNLOOK. These pre-1994 items are identified by the following set of variables: believes no work available (BLVENOWK); could not find work (CANTFIND); lack schooling (LACKSCHL); poor health or disability (ILHEALTH); employers think too young or old (WRONGAGE); other personal handicap (HANDICAP); school or training responsibilities (SCHLDUTY); family responsibilities (FAMDUTY); lack of childcare school (KIDDUTY); "other reasons" (OTHEREAS); and "unknown reason" (UNKREASN). More information about these pre-1994 survey items, including applicable universe statements, can be found in each item link above.


This variable is comparable across samples.


  • Persons 15+ who are not working, have not looked for work within the past 4 weeks, but do want a job.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1994 – 2023 X X - X X X X X X X X X X
2024 X X - X X X X - - - - - -


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Unharmonized Variables