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Labor force projections to 2010: steady growth and changing composition
November, 2001, Vol. 124, No. 11
Howard N Fullerton, Jr. and Mitra Toossi
The civilian labor force is projected to increase by 17 million over the 2000–10 period, reaching 158 million in 2010.1 This 12.0-percent increase is slightly greater than the 11.9-percent increase over the previous 10-year period, 1990–2000, when the labor force grew by 15 million.
The projected labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation, persons born between 1946 and 1964. In 2010, the baby-boom cohort will be ages 46 to 64, and this age group will show significant growth over the 2000–10 period. The median age of the labor force will continue to rise, even though 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.
A closer view of the 2000–10 labor force reveals that certain demographic groups are projected to grow more rapidly than others. 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, the share of women in the labor force is projected to increase from 47 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2010. The number of men in the labor force is projected to grow more rapidly even though the aggregate labor force participation rate for men is projected to continue declining (from 74.7 percent in 2000 to a projected 73.2 percent in 2010).
Race or Hispanic origin groups have shown and are projected to continue to show¾widely varied growth rates because of divergent rates of population growth in the past. Among race and ethnic groups, the Asian and other labor force is projected to increase most rapidly. By 2010, the Hispanic labor force is projected to be larger than the black labor force, primarily because of faster population growth. Despite slower-than-average growth and a declining share of the total labor force, white non-Hispanics will continue to make up more than two-thirds of the work force.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 2001 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.
The projections in this issue were completed prior to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. BLS will continue to review its projections and as long-term consequences of September 11 become clearer will incorporate these effects in subsequent releases of the labor force outlook.
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