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Winter 2003-04 Vol. 47, Number 4

Labor force

labor force


The labor force is the number of people aged 16 or older who are either working or looking for work. The labor force does not include members of the active-duty military or institutionalized workers, such as prison inmates.

The size of the labor force depends on the population—determined by birth rates, immigration rates, and death rates—and on the proportion of the population working or actively seeking employment, which is known as the labor force participation rate.

These measures vary significantly by age group, sex, racial group, and ethnic group. Separate labor-force projections are developed for each of these demographic categories.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: June 10, 2004