The labor force is the number of people ages 16 or
older who are either working or looking for work.
It does not include active-duty military personnel
or the institutionalized population, such as prison inmates.
Determining the size of the labor force is a way of determining
how big the economy can get.
The size of the labor force depends on two factors.
The first is the size of the population, which is determined
by rates of birth, immigration, and death. The second is
the labor force participation rate—the percent of the population
that is working or actively seeking employment.
Labor force participation rates vary significantly
between men and women and among different age, racial,
and ethnic groups. Population growth rates also vary from
one group to another. These variations change the composition
of the labor force over time.
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