The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2009 increased by 4.9 million to 26.1 million.
The "work-experience unemployment rate" – defined as the number of person unemployed at some time during the year as a proportion of the number of persons who worked or looked for work during the year – was 16.4% in 2009, up from 13.2% in 2008. Overall, men continued to have higher "work-experience unemployment rates" in 2009 than women, 18.8 versus 13.6%.
Among those who experienced unemployment in 2009, the median number of weeks spent looking for work was 19.7, up from 15.2 in 2008. The number of individuals, who looked for a job but did not work at all, increased by 2.7 million to about 5.8 million individuals in 2009. Of the 20.3 million persons who worked during 2009 and also experienced unemployment, 20.5% had 2 or more spells of joblessness, down from 22.1% in 2008.