This study tracked the progress of single mothers in the labor market over time. The study integrated household characteristics data from the Current Population Survey with administrative longitudinal employment and earnings records from the US Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program, to study the individual earnings trajectories of single mothers.
Relative to all women in the US, single mothers had fewer years of past work experience and, when employed in earlier years, were more likely to experience job volatility and stagnant earnings. The position of single mothers in the labor market improved dramatically over an outcome period of five years, with low-income single mothers, in particular, experiencing relatively rapid earnings growth and increased employment stability. Past employment experience of just one or two years was significantly related to more positive employment and earnings outcomes for single mothers, including those with low incomes. Having held a greater number of jobs in the past generally increased both the likelihood of future employment and earnings growth for all single mothers, including those with low incomes. Still, relatively large fractions of low-income single mothers continued to experience labor market difficulties.
Report Title: Past Work Experience and Earnings Trajectories of Single Mothers
Agency Sponsor: OASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Susan Hauan, 202-690-8698
Performer: Census Bureau and in-house
Record ID: 9666 (January 30, 2012)