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September, 1987, Vol. 110, No. 9
Labor force projections:
1986 to 2000
The labor force is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be 139 million persons in the year 2000. This represents growth of 21 million persons between 1986 to 2000 in the moderate of three alternative labor force projections; well below the 31 million added to the labor force between 1972 and 1986. The projected growth rate of 1.2 percent annually is less than the 2.2-percent annual rate over the 1972-86 period. (See table 1.)
Some trends in the labor force projectionsthe expected growth in the share of women in the labor force and the drop in the share of workers 55 and olderare the result of anticipated changes in participation rates. Women were only 39 percent of the labor force as recently as 1972; by 2000, they are projected to be 47 percent. The older population, which is growing as a share of the overall population, is projected to have lower labor force participation rates in 2000 and, as a consequence, a smaller share of the labor force. (See table 2.)
Other changes expected between 1986 and 2000 reflect underlying population changes. The proportion of youths (those 16 to 24 years) dropped from 23 percent of the labor force in 1972 to 20 percent in 1986 and is projected to fall further to 16 percent by 2000. The drop in the youth share of the labor force for the 1972-86 period reflects the end of the entry of the baby-boomers, while the projected drop reflects the lower numbers of births in the 1970s. Blacks, who were 10 percent of the labor force in 1972 and 11 percent in 1986, are projected to be 12 percent by 2000. The increased share of the labor force for blacks results from their population growth. Hispanics also are projected to increase their share of the labor force from 7 percent in 1986 to 10 percent by 2000, reflecting both population and participation growth. Asians and others are projected to increase their labor force share from 3 percent in 1986 to 4 percent in 2000, as the result of rapid population increase.1
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1 The Asian and other race group consists of American Indians, Native Alaskans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders.
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