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November 1997, Vol. 120, No. 11
Howard N Fullerton, Jr.
The labor force, those persons working or looking for work, is projected to increase by 15 million over the 19962006 period, reaching 149 million in 2006.1 This 11-percent increase is less than the 14-percent increase over the previous 10-year period, 198696, when the labor force grew by 16 million.
For women, the rate of growth in the labor force is expected to slow, but it will still increase at a faster rate than that of men. (See table 1.) As a result, women are projected to increase as a portion of the labor force from 46 percent in 1997 to 47 percent in 2006. The number of men in the labor force is projected to grow, but at a slower rate than that in the past as labor force participation for men in most age groups is projected to continue declining. The projected labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation, persons born between 1946 and 1964. In 2006, the baby-boom cohort will be ages 42 to 60, and this age group will show significant growth over the 19962006 period. Race or Hispanic origin groups have shownand are projected to continue to showwidely varied growth rates because of divergent rates of population growth in the past. The Asian and other group is projected to increase most rapidly. By 2006, the Hispanic labor force is projected to be larger than the black labor force, primarily because of faster population growth.
The youth labor force (aged 16 to 24) is expected to grow more rapidly than the overall labor force for the first time in 25 years. At the same time, the number of persons in the labor force ages 25 to 44 is projected to decrease, as the baby-boom generation continues its inexorable aging.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1997 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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1 The civilian labor force consists of employed and unemployed persons actively seeking work, but does not include any Armed Forces personnel. Historical data for this series are from the Current Population Survey, conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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