January 05, 2010
The overall labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population that is in the labor force, peaked at 67.1 percent in the late 1990s into 2000 and then began to trend down. The participation rate was 66.0 percent in 2008.
Among the major race and ethnicity groups, Hispanics continued to have the highest labor force participation rate (68.5 percent) in 2008, while the participation rate for blacks was the lowest (63.7 percent). The participation rates for whites (66.3 percent) and Asians (67.0 percent) were roughly midway between the rates for blacks and Hispanics, continuing a long-term pattern.
Compared with annual average data for 2007, the participation rates for whites and Hispanics were down slightly in 2008, while the rate for blacks held steady and the rate for Asians continued to trend up.
These data are from Current Population Survey. To learn more, see, "Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008," Report 1020, November 2009.