BLS: Less Educated People More Likely to Claim Illness or Disability As Reason for Not Working

By Susan Jones | January 8, 2016 | 6:10 AM EST

(Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) - Men and women ages 25-54 with less education were more likely to be labor force nonparticipants than their counterparts with more education, says a recent report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And people with less education were more likely to cite illness or disability as their main reason for not working.

In 2014, 21.2 percent of men with less than a high school diploma did not participate in the labor force, meaning they did not work or look for work in that year.

As the education level rises, the percentage of labor force nonparticipants goes down: In 2014, 14.9 percent of high school graduates did not participate in the labor force, compared with 10.7 percent of those with some college or an associate’s degree, and 5.6 percent of male college graduates.

In 2014, 14.0 percent of men with less than a high school diploma cited illness or disability as their main reason for not working; by comparison, 9.0 percent of high school graduates claimed illness or disability; 4.7 percent of men with some college claimed illness or disability; while only 1.3 percent of male college graduates gave this reason.

It was a similar story for women in the 25-54 age group: less educated women were more likely to claim illness or disability as their reason for not working.

12.8 percent of women with less than a high school diploma said they were ill or disabled, compared with 9.5 percent of high school graduates, 5.7 percent of women with "some college," and only 1.4 percent of college-educated women.

Home responsibilities were the main reason given by women who did not participate in the labor force in 2014: 30.7 percent of women with less than a high school diploma claimed this reason, compared with 17.8 percent of high school graduates, 11.0 percent of women with some college, and 10.5 percent of college graduates.

The study -- titled "People who are not in the labor force: why aren't they working?" -- is based on data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC).

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