August 29, 2019

4 Facts About Americans and Work

Most Americans believe working hard pays off

Labor Day is a time to celebrate our ingenious and industrious American workers. These four facts help illuminate how, where, and when we labor in the United States. 

1) 60.7% of Americans age 16 and older were employed in July 2019

This translates to 157.3 million employed Americans (83.6 million men and 73.7 million women). This excludes people who are on active duty in the armed forces. Learn more.

2) 73% of Americans say working hard is "very important" to getting ahead

Americans are more likely than people in other nations to believe that hard work pays off. When respondents in 44 countries were asked in 2014 about how important working hard is to getting ahead in life, 73 percent of Americans said it is was a “10” (on a scale of zero to 10) or “very important.” This was a higher percentage than in most other nations polled. Learn more.

73
percent of Americans say working hard is "very important" to getting ahead

3) Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force

As of 2017, 35 percent of Americans who were working or looking for work were Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). These 56 million workers surpass the 53 million Generation Xers, who account for 33 percent of the labor force, and the 41 million Baby Boomers, who represent 25 percent of the total. While the Millennial labor force is still growing, it is unlikely to reach the peak size of the Boomer labor force, which was 66 million in 1997. Of course, the Millennial generation is also projected to be the largest in the United States as of this year. Learn more.

4) 63% of Americans believe jobs are less secure now than they were 20 to 30 years ago 

While a majority of Americans (63%) believe jobs are less secure today,  about half (51%) anticipate jobs will become less secure in the future. Among the primary threats to jobs named by survey respondents are increased outsourcing of jobs to other countries (80%) and having more foreign-made products sold in the United States (77%). Many also named the increased use of contract and temporary workers (57%) and the decline of union membership (49%). Half of Americans (50%) think automation of jobs has hurt workers, compared with 42% who think it has helped. Learn more.

Want to learn more? Explore our new set of fascinating facts on Americans and work.

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Learn more about Americans today: Jobs, Unemployment, Generations

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