Families "having difficult time": Census

Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:26pm EST
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The recession that began at the end of 2007 took a toll on U.S. families last year as the number of parents without jobs climbed, Census data released on Friday showed.

Among the country's 25.8 million married couples with children under 18, about 6 percent of husbands were unemployed in 2009, compared with 3 percent in 2007. The proportion of jobless wives and mothers also doubled to 4 percent from 2 percent in 2007.

"These statistics show us that families are having a difficult time during this recession," said Rose Kreider, family demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau.

The country's unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent in October.

Government data on teen-aged workers has shown the youngest members of the labor force are also struggling with finding and keeping jobs, but there have been few indicators to how the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s has affected children's home life.

Married couples with children in which both parents have jobs totaled 59 percent in 2009, compared with 63 percent in 2007. Families where only the wife worked jumped to 7 percent in 2009 from 5 percent in 2007.

At the same time, one in 10 mothers heading "mother-only family groups" were unemployed in 2009.

The recession also impacted the era of the "stay-at-home mom." In 2008, 5.3 million women made rearing children their full-time jobs. A year later, their ranks had shrunk to 5.1 million.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Kenneth Barry)