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November 1993, Vol. 116, No. 11
The American Workforce, 1992 to 2005
Another look at the labor force
Howard N Fullerton, Jr.
By 2005, the labor force, those working or looking for work, is expected to number 151 million, an increase of 24 million from 1992, according to the latest projections made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 This represents an increase of 19 percent, slightly less than the 21 percent increase over the previous 13-year period, 1979 to 1992, when the labor force grew by 22 million. For the first time in years, BLS projections show that the labor force increase in numerical terms will be larger in the projected period than in the corresponding historical period. (See table 1.)
The growth in the women's labor force is expected to slow down, but will still increase at a faster rate than that of men. Women are projected to represent a slightly greater portion of the labor force in 2005 than in 1992. The number of men in the labor force is projected to grow at a rate similar to their growth in the immediate past. The projected labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964: in the 1992-2005 period, the labor force of those aged 45 to 64 is expected to grow most rapidly. The different race or Hispanic origin groups have shown - and are projected to continue to show - widely varied growth rates as a consequence of divergent rates of population growth.
This article describes the demographic labor force projections made by BLS for 128 age, sex, race, or Hispanic origin groups composing the future labor force.2 Changes in the labor force are explored as the consequence of population or labor force participation rate changes. This article also examines dynamics of the changes resulting from persons entering, leaving, or staying in the labor force; these factors lead to changes in the composition of the labor force. Finally, the demographic consequences of changes in the composition of the labor force are reviewed.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1993 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. Data for this series is from the an Current Population Survey, conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Estimates from the Current Population Survey reflect the demographic composition of the 1980 Census of Population, and it is these data upon which the labor force projections are based.
2 The race and Hispanic-origin categories correspond to those promulgated in the Office of Management and Budget Directive No. 15, 1978. For a discussion of these categories, see Juanita Tamayo Lott, "Do United States Racial/Ethnic Categories Still Fit?" Population Today, January 1993, pp. 67, and 9.
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