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Fall 2007 Vol. 51, Number 3

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 active-duty military personnel or institutionalized people, such as prison inmates.

The size of the labor force depends on two factors. The first is the size of the total population, which is determined by rates of birth, immigration, and death. The second factor is the labor force participation rate—the percent of the total population that is working or actively seeking employment.

The charts show how the labor force is projected to change among age groups, between men and women, among racial groups (Asians, blacks, whites, and others), and among ethnic groups (Hispanics and non-Hispanics of any race). These are the categories used by the U.S. Census Bureau, which produces the demographic data on which BLS projections are based. Some of the charts that show a distribution do not sum to 100 percent because of rounding.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: February 29, 2008