Codes and Frequencies
For individuals not currently in the labor force (neither working nor temporarily absent from a job nor actively looking for work), WNLWNILF reports the amount of time that had passed since such persons last worked at a job or business.
Along with universe changes, this variable changed in terms of the question wording and responses.
For 1994 on, the question was, "Have you worked at a job or business at any time during the past 12 months?" The single year time referent only distinguished between those who had worked within the past 12 months, those who had never worked, and those who last worked more than 12 months ago.
For 1968-1993, the question was, "When did [this person] last work for pay at a regular job or business, either full- or part-time?" This wording elicited a broader range of responses. Along with distinguishing those who had never worked and those who had worked within the past 12 months, recognized answers included "1 up to 2 years ago," "2 up to 3 years ago," "3 up to 4 years ago," "4 up to 5 years ago," and "5 or more years ago."
To facilitate comparisons across the full range of years, IPUMS-CPS adopts a two-digit coding system for WNLWNILF. The first digit covers the limited range of responses for 1994 onward; the second digit provides the additional detail available for 1968-1993.
WNLWNILF provides data only for people who were not currently in the labor force. This variable should not be confused with WNFTLOOK (When last worked full time 2 consecutive weeks), which provides data on the time of the last previous job for people who were actively looking for work (and thus were part of the labor force).
- 1968-1979: Civilians age 14+ in rotation groups 4 and 8 who were not in the labor force during the preceding week.
- 1980-1993: Civilians age 15+ in rotation groups 4 and 8 who were not in the labor force during the preceding week.
- 1994-1995: Civilians age 15+ who were not in the labor force during the preceding week.
- 1996-2018: Civilians age 15-49 in rotation groups 4 and 8 who were not in the labor force during the preceding week.
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