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November 1983, Vol. 106, No. 11
The 1995 labor force:
a second look
Howard N Fullerton, Jr. and John Tschetter
During the 1982-95 period, the number of persons of prime working age (25-54) in the labor force is expected to grown considerably faster than the total labor force. Young workers will decline in absolute numbers as the rate of growth of the total labor force slows markedly. These growth trends reflect the aging of the baby-boom generation and a subsequent sharp decline in birth rates.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised its labor force projections for the 1982-95 period.1 For the middle scenario, which assumes that labor force participation of women will accelerate then taper off, the civilian labor force is projected to reach 131.4 million persons by 1995, 3.8 million more than projected earlier.2 The labor force is expected to grow 1.6 percent per year over the 1982-90 period, slowing to 1.0 percent per year during 1990-95, thus continuing the slow growth which began in the late 1970s. Nearly two-thirds of the growth will be among women; nearly one-fourth will be among the black and other group.3
This article presents new projections for the 1995 labor force with alternative demographic and, for the first time, economic assumptions. The demographic alternatives illustrate the sensitivity of the size of the projected labor force to various assumptions regarding the behavior of age, sex, and racial groups.4 The economic alternatives explore the sensitivity of labor force changes to assumptions about real earnings and the employment rate.
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1 These projections replace those in Howard N Fullerton, Jr., "The 1995 labor force: a first look," Monthly Labor Review, December 1980, pp. 11-21. For an evaluation of earlier projections, see Howard N Fullerton, Jr., "How accurate were the 1980 labor force projections?" Monthly Labor Review, July 1982, pp. 15-21
2 The labor force (civilian labor force and resident Armed Forces) is projected to be 126.577,000 in 1990 and 133,01,000 in 1995. Of these, 57,415,000 will be women in 1990 and 61,52,000 will be women in 1995. Because there is no age or race detail in the resident Armed Forces measure of the labor force, this article is based on the civilian labor force.
3 As with other current BLS presentations of data by race, this article presents data for blacks; however, for historical comparison, data are also presented for the black and other group, which also includes American Indians, Eskimos, and other minorities.
4 For a short description of the BLS demographic labor force projection methodology, see BLS Handbook of Methods, Bulletin 2134-1 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982), Chapter 1; for a complete description, see BLS Economic Growth Model System Used for Projections to 1990, Bulletin 2112 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982), Chapter 2.
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