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).
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.