Age and labor force projections: 2002-12

February 20, 2004

The civilian labor force is projected to increase by 17.4 million over the 2002-12 decade, reaching 162.3 million by 2012. This 12-percent increase is somewhat greater than the 11.3-percent increase over the previous decade (1992-2002).

Percent change in labor force by age, 1992-2002 and projected 2002-12
[Chart data—TXT]

The projected growth of the labor force will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation—persons born between 1946 and 1964. In 2012, baby boomers will be 48 to 66 years old. The number of workers in this age group is expected to increase significantly over the 2002-12 decade.

The labor force thus will continue to age, with the number of workers in the 55-and-older group projected to grow by 49.3 percent, about 4 times the 12-percent growth projected for the overall labor force. In contrast, the number of youths—those between the ages of 16 and 24—in the labor forces is expected to grow by 9 percent, and the number of prime-age workers—those between the ages of 25 and 54—is expected to increase by only 5.1 percent.

Labor force projections are a product of the Employment Projections program. To find out more, see "BLS Releases 2002-12 Employment Projections" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-148.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Age and labor force projections: 2002-12 on the Internet at (visited October 01, 2016).


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