December 18, 2001
The labor force participation rate for women rose about 9 percentage points between 1980 and 2000 and is projected to rise further between 2000 and 2010. In contrast, the rate for men fell between 1980 and 2000 and is projected to fall again in the 2000-2010 period.
The labor force participation rate for women grew from 51.5 percent in 1980 to 60.2 percent in 2000 and is projected to reach 62.2 percent in 2010. By age, women 45 to 54 had the largest percentage-point increase in labor force participation between 1980 and 2000—from 59.9 percent to 76.8 percent; in 2010, this rate is projected to rise to 80.0 percent.
The rate for men has been declining, from 77.4 percent in 1980 to 74.7 percent in 2000, and is projected to reach 73.2 percent in 2010. By age, men 16 to 19 had the biggest percentage-point decline in participation between 1980 and 2000—from 60.5 percent to 53.0 percent; in 2010, this rate is projected to be 52.3 percent.
These data are from the BLS Employment Projections program. For more information, see "Labor force projections to 2010: steady growth and changing composition," by Howard N Fullerton, Jr. and Mitra Toossi, Monthly Labor Review, November 2001. (The BLS employment projections for the period 2000-2010 were completed prior to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. BLS will continue to review its projections and, as the long-term consequences of September 11 become clearer, will incorporate these effects in subsequent analyses of industrial and occupational outlook.)