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Labor force growth: past, present, and future

January 10, 2007

Peaking at 2.6 percent during the 1970s, the growth rate of the labor force has been decreasing with the passage of each decade and is expected to continue to do so in the future.

Labor force growth, by decades, 1950s to 2005 and projected to 2040s
[Chart data—TXT]

The 0.6-percent annual growth rate from 2005 to 2050 reflects a projected population (16 years and older) of 322.6 million and a labor force participation rate of 60.4 percent in 2050.

Among the factors affecting the composition and growth of the labor force over the next 50 years are the aging of the baby-boom generation, the stabilization of women’s labor force participation rates, and increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce.

This information is from the Employment Projections program. Find out more in "A new look at long-term labor force projections to 2050," by Mitra Toossi, Monthly Labor Review, November 2006.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Labor force growth: past, present, and future on the Internet at (visited September 20, 2014).


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