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November 1997, Vol. 120, No. 11
James C. Franklin
Over the 19962006 period, total employment in the United States is projected to increase by 18.6 million, from 132.4 million to 151 million. The projected annual average rate of growth is 1.3 percent, slower than the 1.7-percent annual average rate of growth from 1986 to 1996. The increase of 17.6 million (from 118.7 million to 136.3 million) in nonfarm wage and salary jobs accounts for nearly all of the increase in total employment. The number of agricultural workersself-employed persons, unpaid family workers, and wage and salary workers, combinedis projected to decline by 24,000. Private household wage and salary jobs also are projected to decline, by 153,000. The remaining portion of growth in total jobs is accounted for by an increase of 1.2 million in non-agricultural self-employed and unpaid family workers. (See table 1.)
The macroeconomic factors whose combined influence most affects the growth of total employment are increases in the labor force,1 in productivity,2 and in the Nations gross domestic product, or GDP. In the latest round of BLS projections, the labor force grows at an annual average rate of 1.1 percent during the 19962006 projection period. This is a slowing in the rate of growth compared to the 1.3-percent annual average rate of increase posted over the 198696 period. The growth rate of the nonfarm labor productivity index is projected to average 1.1 percent per year from 1996 through 2006, an increase from the 0.7-percent rate of change during the previous 10 years. The rate of growth for GDP during the projection period is 2.1 percent, a slight decline from the 2.3-percent average annual increase during the 198696 period. The overall picture, then, is one of an economy in which the rate of growth of both the labor force and GDP is slowing, but output, as measured by GDP, continues to outpace labor force growth because of productivity gains.
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 For further discussion of the labor force, see Howard N Fullerton, Jr., "Labor force 2006: slowing down and changing composition," this issue, pages 23-38.
2 For further discussion of the macroeconomic influences, see Tom Boustead, "The U.S. economy to 2006", this issue, pages 6-22.
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