Marginally Attached Workers

Officially, marginally attached workers are considered a subset of individuals who are not in the labor force. Although individuals not in the labor force are not currently looking for work, marginally attached individuals have looked for work in the last 12 months but not the previous four weeks. Moreover, these individuals want a job and would be able to accept a job were one available.

Similar to the distinction between part time for economic reasons and part time for noneconomic reasons, the marginally attached have two core subgroups, including discouraged workers.

Discouraged Workers
Discouraged workers are specifically those marginally attached workers who provide the following reasons why they have not looked for work recently: they do not believe work is available, they could not find work, they believe they lack the necessary school or training, they think employers find them too young or too old, or they have faced other forms of discrimination. The main question used to determine whether an individual is discouraged is PEDWRSN, which asks the specific reason why the individual was not looking for work the previous four weeks.

Those who aren’t looking, but aren’t discouraged
Individuals who meet the definition of marginally attached but are not considered discouraged workers provide different reasons for not looking for work in the last four weeks, though they are still willing to accept work. Among these reasons are illness, school, family responsibilities, transportation issues, or another, not provided, reason. As is the case with discouraged workers, the variable PEDWRSN provides the responses that would sort an individual into this category.

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