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November 2007, Vol. 130, No. 11
Occupational employment projections to 2016
Arlene Dohm and Lynn Shniper
Changes to the U.S. population and economy through 2016 will affect both employment in general and employment by occupation. During 2006–16, the civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 years or older is projected to increase by about 22 million, from 229 million to 251 million.1 As the baby-boom generation ages, the segment of that population aged 55 years and older is expected to increase by 20 million—nearly as much as the increase in the total population—reaching 87 million by 2016. The swell in the 55-years-and-older group will lead to an increase in the proportion of the population in older age groups, with the share of those 55 years and older rising from 29.3 percent in 2006 to 34.8 percent in 2016. The latter age group is anticipated to be the fastest growing segment of the population between 2006 and 2016, with an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent, compared with 0.9 percent for the population 16 years and older.
Over the 2006–16 projection period, growth in the labor force is projected to slow significantly, for two reasons: the baby-boom generation is aging and retiring, and the labor force participation rates of women have peaked.2 The labor force is expected to grow at an annual rate of 0.8 percent during 2006–16, compared with a rate of 1.2 percent in 1996–2006. Although the labor force participation rate for those aged 55 years and older is anticipated to jump from 38.0 percent to 42.8 percent during the coming decade, a large number of persons aged 55 years and older are expected to retire and leave the labor force.
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1 For more information on the population and labor force projections cited throughout this article, see Mitra Toossi, "Labor force projections to 2016: more workers in their golden years," this issue, pp. 33–52.
2 These projections assume that the current immigration policy and levels of immigration will remain constant.
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