Share of labor force projected to rise for people age 55 and over and fall for younger age groups

January 24, 2014

With the aging of the post-WWII baby boom generation, those aged 55 and over are expected to make up a larger share of the labor force than in the past. From 1992 to 2002, the share of the labor force for those aged 55 and over increased from 11.8 percent to 14.3 percent. In 2012, their share of the labor force increased to 20.9 percent and is now projected to increase to 25.6 percent by 2022.

Percent distribution of civilian labor force, by age, 1992, 2002, 2012, and projected 2022

Percent distribution of civilian labor force, by age, 1992, 2002, 2012, and projected 2022
Age199220022012Projected 2022

16 to 19 years

5.5%5.2%3.8%2.7%

20 to 24 years

11.310.210.08.6

25 to 54 years

71.470.265.363.1

55 to 64 years

9.011.315.917.3

65 to 74 years

2.32.54.16.7

75 years and over

0.40.60.91.6

The share of the youth labor force, those 16 to 24 years old, has been on a declining trend since 1992, when the youth labor force accounted for 16.9 percent of the labor force. Since then, the youth labor force made up 15.4 percent of the labor force in 2002, decreased to 13.7 percent in 2012, and is now projected to decrease even further—to 11.3 percent in 2022.

Those 25 to 54 years of age made up 71.4 percent of the labor force in 1992. Since then, their share of the labor force has decreased to 70.2 percent in 2002, 65.3 percent in 2012, and is now projected to fall to 63.1 percent in 2022.

These projections are from the BLS Employment Projections program. To learn more, see “Labor force projections to 2022: the labor force participation rate continues to fall,” by Mitra Toossi, Monthly Labor Review, December 2013.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Share of labor force projected to rise for people age 55 and over and fall for younger age groups on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140124.htm (visited October 22, 2014).

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