Projected slowdown in labor force growth

August 07, 2002

The high growth rate of the civilian labor force in the last 50 years will be replaced by much lower growth rates in the next 50 years.

Annual growth rate of civilian labor force by sex and age, 1950-2000 and projected 2000-2050
[Chart data—TXT]

The civilian labor force was 62 million in 1950 and grew to 141 million in 2000, an increase of 79 million, or an annual increase of 1.6 percent per year, between 1950 and 2000. It is projected that the labor force will reach 192 million in 2050, an increase of 51 million, or a growth rate of 0.6 percent annually, between 2000 and 2050.

Women in the labor force increased their numbers at an extremely rapid pace in the past 50 years. It is anticipated that their labor force growth will slow markedly in the next 50 years.

The older age cohorts are expected to make up a larger proportion of the labor force in the coming decades. The 55-and-older age group, which made up 13 percent of the labor force in 2000, is projected to account for 19 percent of the labor force in 2050.

These data are a product of the Employment Projections program. Find out more in "A century of change: the U.S. labor force, 1950-2050," by Mitra Toossi, Monthly Labor Review, May 2002.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Projected slowdown in labor force growth on the Internet at (visited September 28, 2016).


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