June 25, 2001
Between 2000 and 2025, the annual growth rate of the labor force is projected to be lower than it was in the second half of the 20th century.
Labor force growth was especially rapid in the 1970s. This was due to two dramatic changes: the baby-boom generation reached working age and it became more common for women to work outside the home.
Following a growth rate of 2.6 percent per year in the 1970s, the rate of labor force growth fell to 1.6 percent per year in the 1980s and 1.2 percent per year in the 1990s. For 2000-2015, the annual rate is projected to be 1.0 percent and for 2015-25, it is projected to be just 0.2 percent. The substantial slowdown in 2015-25 is an expected result of the baby-boom generation retiring.
Data on labor force participation are from the Current Population Survey. Projections are from the Employment Projections program. Find out more in Working in the 21st Century, (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2001).