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Assessing the growth of the Hispanic labor force is one way to measure the contributions of this ethnic group to our economy. And, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the contributions of Hispanics have increased steadily over the past four decades—and are projected to continue doing so through 2026.
The Hispanic labor force has grown more than 6 times larger over the past 40 years, from 4.3 million people in 1976 to 26.8 million in 2016. (In contrast, the overall labor force, comprising all other groups combined, grew by less than half—from about 92 million in 1976 to 132 million in 2016.) The Hispanic share of the labor force is projected to increase more than that of any race or ethnic group by 2026.
This growth is based on changes to Hispanics’ movement into and out of the labor force. The chart shows, by decades from 1976–86 to 2006–16, the growing numbers of Hispanics who entered and remained in the labor force during the decade (entrants); who were in, and stayed in, the labor force during the decade (stayers); and who were in the labor force at the start of the decade but were not part of it at the end (leavers). The chart also shows the number of entrants, stayers, and leavers projected from 2016 to 2026.
Over the historical decades shown in the chart, there have been more male than female entrants to, stayers in, and leavers from the Hispanic labor force. This trend is projected to continue through 2026. Click on a decade below the axis or on a bar segment to see how each decade’s Hispanic entrants, stayers, and leavers break down by gender.
More data on labor force projections by age, gender, race, and ethnicity are available from the BLS Employment Projections program.
Kathleen Green and Mitra Toossi, "Hispanic labor force, past and projected: Entrants, stayers, and leavers," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2018.