From 1976-forward, the variable “NWLOOKWK” records the number of weeks an individual looked for work or was on layoff in the previous year, conditional on not having worked that year. This variable was originally called “R-WELKNW” in the CPS documentation and is in location 310 in the person file for 1976-1988, for example.
I believe this variable exists from 1968-1976 in location 150. For example, it is present in page 34 of codebook for the documentation provided on your site.
Please let me know if I am missing the variable, or if it is included in another variable. Thanks very much,