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October 2012

Projections of the labor force to 2050: a visual essay

Mitra Toossi

The U.S. labor force, which consists of people who are either employed or actively seeking employment, has undergone tremendous change in the last six decades. Over this period, the high labor force growth rate of the 1970s to 1990s was replaced by a much lower growth rate since 2000. Major demographic factors—including slower population growth, the aging of the U.S. population, the leveling off of the labor force participation rate, and increasing diversity within the population—have been responsible for these changes. BLS long-term projections point to a slower rate of growth of the labor force over the next four decades

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