Unemployed More Likely To Shop, Watch TV, or Play Sports Than Look For a Job

Those without jobs spend more time on leisure activities than job hunting

September 1, 2015

Unemployed individuals in America are more likely to go shopping, watch TV, or play sports on an average day than to look for a new job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Less than one in five of America’s unemployed, or 18.2 percent, participated in job search and interview activities on an average day, according to the BLS data from the American Time Use Survey.

Yet 40.8 percent of the unemployed shopped on the average day by store, telephone, or Internet. Of those who shopped, 21.5 percent of those shopped for items other than groceries, food, or gas.

Most of the unemployed, 83.7 percent, watched television or movies on an average day.

About one in four of the unemployed, or 24.6 percent, participated in or watched sports, exercise, or recreation activities on an average day.

According to the BLS, the unemployed are individuals who do not have a job but have actively sought one in the past four weeks. The bureau’s Time Use Survey measures the amount of time the unemployed spend doing various activities.

Although the unemployed are defined as those who are actively looking for a job, this may not be the most time-consuming activity they participate in on an average day and on some days they may not participate in the activity at all.

To determine the percentage of the population who participated in an activity on an average day, the BLS interviewed respondents about how they spent their time on the previous day, where they were and whom they were with. The most recent data from the BLS takes the average for the combined years from 2010 to 2014.

The BLS also calculates how many hours a day the unemployed participate in these activities. The BLS found that those participating in job search and interviewing activities spent an average of 2.63 hours per day on them.

Unemployed individuals spent an average of 5.83 hours on socializing, relaxation, and leisure activities; 3.76 hours watching television and movies; 2.05 hours active in sports, exercise, and recreation activities; and 1.1 hours shopping for items other than food or gas.