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November 1989, Vol. 112, No. 11
New labor force projections, spanning 1988 to 2000
Howard N Fullerton, Jr.
The growth of the U. S. labor force is expected to slow perceptibly between 1988 and 2000, according to new projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Under the moderate of three alternative projections, the labor force is estimated to grow 1.2 percent annually, compared with the 1976-88 growth rate of 2.0 percent.
The labor force is projected to total 141 million persons in 2000, a net addition of 19 million. In contrast, the work force grew by 25 million between 1976 and 1988. Under the alternative projections, the work force in 2000 varies between a low of 137.5 million and a high of 144.0 million.
Women were only 40 percent of the labor force as recently as 1976; by 2000, they are projected to be 47 percent. The proportion of youths (those 16 to 24 years) dropped from 24 percent of the labor force in 1976 to 19 percent in 1988 and is projected to fall further to 16 percent in 2000. The decline during the 1976-88 period reflected the end of the entry of the baby-boomers, while the projected decrease during the 1988-2000 period reflects fewer births in the 1970's. The proportion of workers in the broad age span, 24 to 54, is projected to increase by 2 percent by the year 2000. The older population, which is growing, is projected to account for the same share of the labor force in 2000 as in 1988. (See table 1.)
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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