WNLOOK - how to identify discouraged workers & why so many NILF-Retired individuals in the WNLOOK population?

I am working with the WNLOOK variable and find that a simple crosstab with the variable empstat shows that the population includes both “NILF-Other” and “NILF-Retired”. “NILF Retired” make up roughly 15-20% of the WNLOOK population (and historically even more). Why are so many retired individuals interested in working (but have not looked for work over the past four weeks)?

A second question is how to identify discouraged workers (BLS definition) in the WNLOOK population. Previous posts in the forum don’t pin down the exact conditions or variables needed. I have found the unharmonized variable UH_DSCWK_B2, where I can condition on “discouraged worker” - is the solution to use WNLOOK in the range 1-5, and then condition on UH_DSCWK_B2==1?. Also, am I right to assume that the “conditionally interested” population is not part of the “discouraged worker” population?

Any insights would be much appreciated.

Janina Curtis Broker

Currently WNLOOK seems to be the best variable available for identifying discouraged workers in the CPS microdata. Discouraged workers have WNLOOK=1-5, as can be verified by a cross-tab with UH_DSCWK_B2. Although UH_DSCWK_B2 more directly identifies discouraged workers, the universe is more limited and we do not yet fully understand who is covered by this variable. Until this is clarified, I would not suggest using this variable.