Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Look at Those That Work and Those That Are Not Working in Herkimer and Oneida Counties

People who are neither working nor looking for work are counted as “not in the labor force,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A recently released article from the BLS takes a look at those not in the labor force in depth. Since 2000, they conclude that the percentage of people who are not working has increased. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) provide some insight into why people are not in the labor force.

Data from the CPS and ASEC found that from 2004 to 2014, there was an increase in the proportion of the population 16 years and older that was not in the labor force.  Increases were cited specifically among those attending school, those having an illness or disability, or those that entered retirement as their main reasons for not working. The percentage of people who were not in the labor force and the reasons they gave for not working varied by age and gender. Here are a few examples of some of their findings based on respondent characteristics:

  • Youth: Among younger people, the percentage not in the labor force rose sharply and the most often cited reason for not working was school attendance.
  • Working Age: The percentage not in the labor force also rose for both men and women 25 to 54 years of age, and nearly all of the reasons cited previously recorded an increase.
  • Gender: Women between 25 and 54 were more likely than men to cite home responsibilities as the main reason for not working.
  • Educational Attainment: Men and women 25 to 54 years with less education were more likely to be labor force nonparticipants than their counterparts with more education. From 2004 to 2014, the increases in the percentage of men and women not in the labor force were larger for those with less education. People with less education were more likely than those with more education to cite illness or disability as the main reason for not working.
  • Older Adults: The proportion of older adults who were not in the labor force declined from 2004 to 2014. Older adults were most likely to cite retirement as the main reason for not working, although the percentage who cited this reason fell. The older adult population saw an increase in the proportion who cited illness or disability as the main reason for not working. 

Regionally, the chart below provides some insight on who is and who isn't part of the labor force for the population 16 and over for both Herkimer and Oneida Counties. About 60% of the population in each county works, either full-time, part-time or by being enlisted in the armed forces. These are the blue parts of the "doughnut". Thirty seven percent (37%) of all people over age 16 work full-time year-round; another 21% work less than full-time year-round.


Roughly 40% of the population age 16 and over do not work (the red portions of the chart above). The largest portion of people not in the labor force are retirees (16%). The remaining non-working portion of the population is spread pretty evenly between the ill or disabled (7%), those attending school (6%), those with home responsibilities (6%), and those that are unemployed (5%).

To even get a better understanding of these subgroups, I have provided some breakouts for each one below. The basic graph (the doughnut) is the same, but I have added a few "factoids" as they apply to that group in either Herkimer or Oneida County, respectively. Click the one you'd like to know more about to make it larger for viewing purposes.

Herkimer County


Oneida County