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November 1999, Vol. 122, No. 11
Labor force projections to 2008: steady growth and changing composition
Howard N Fullerton, Jr.
Note: projections for 1998-2008 have been superseded by projections for 2000-10
The number of persons working or looking for work is projected to increase by 17 million over the 1998–2008 period, reaching 155 million in 2008.1 This 12-percent increase is only slightly lower than the 13-percent increase over the previous 10-year period, 1988–98, when the labor force grew by 16 million.
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 46 percent in 1998 to 48 percent in 2008. The number of men in the labor force is projected to grow, but at a slower rate than in the past, as the aggregate labor force participation rate for men is projected to continue declining. The projected labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation, persons born between 1946 and 1964. In 2008, the baby-boom cohort will be ages 44 to 62, and this age group will show significant growth over the 1998–2008 period. Race or Hispanic origin groups have shown—and are projected to continue to show—widely varied growth rates because of divergent rates of population growth in the past. The Asian and other labor force is projected to increase most rapidly. By 2008, the Hispanic labor force is projected to be larger than the black labor force, primarily because of faster population growth.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1999 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.
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