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Labor force participation projections among age groups from 2014 to 2024

December 29, 2015

The labor force participation rate—the proportion of the civilian population that is working or seeking work—is highest among 25- to-54-year-olds. This is the age group with the strongest link to the labor market. This group’s labor force participation rate has been higher than 80 percent for the last several decades. Since 2000, however, the rate has been declining in most years.

People born between 1965 and 1975 will be in the ages of their highest participation rates during the 2014–24 timeframe. However, because this group is much smaller than that of the baby boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964), the number of 25- to 54-year-olds will shrink as baby boomers reach ages with much lower participation rates.

Labor force participation rates of 25-to-54-year-olds, 1994–2014 and projected from 2014–24
Year 25 to 29 30 to 34 35 to 39 40 to 44 45 to 49 50 to 54

1994

83.0 83.3 84.3 85.4 84.2 78.5

1995

83.4 84.2 84.3 85.0 83.8 78.3

1996

84.2 83.9 84.5 85.2 84.3 79.2

1997

84.8 84.0 84.7 85.4 84.3 80.5

1998

84.9 84.4 84.2 85.3 84.7 79.9

1999

84.6 84.7 84.1 85.1 84.5 80.3

2000

84.5 84.7 84.3 85.3 84.5 80.3

2001

83.7 84.4 84.3 85.0 84.2 80.2

2002

83.5 83.9 83.8 84.4 83.8 80.1

2003

82.5 83.3 83.5 84.3 83.8 80.2

2004

82.0 83.4 83.5 83.8 83.7 79.8

2005

82.4 83.2 83.5 84.0 83.4 79.8

2006

82.9 83.2 83.6 84.0 83.4 80.3

2007

83.1 83.6 83.4 84.2 83.4 80.4

2008

83.1 83.6 83.8 84.3 83.3 80.4

2009

82.1 83.3 83.6 83.7 82.9 80.3

2010

82.0 82.4 83.1 83.4 82.6 79.8

2011

81.1 81.9 82.5 82.9 82.2 79.2

2012

81.3 82.0 82.3 82.8 81.7 78.8

2013

80.6 81.9 82.1 82.3 81.2 78.3

2014

80.5 81.9 82.1 82.2 81.1 78.2

2015 (projected)

80.5 82.1 82.1 82.2 81.2 78.4

2016 (projected)

80.4 82.1 82.0 82.1 81.2 78.5

2017 (projected)

80.4 82.2 82.0 82.0 81.2 78.7

2018 (projected)

80.4 82.2 82.0 82.0 81.2 78.9

2019 (projected)

80.3 82.2 82.0 81.9 81.2 79.1

2020 (projected)

80.3 82.3 81.9 81.8 81.2 79.2

2021 (projected)

80.3 82.3 81.9 81.7 81.2 79.4

2022 (projected)

80.2 82.3 81.9 81.6 81.2 79.6

2023 (projected)

80.2 82.4 81.9 81.6 81.2 79.8

2024 (projected)

80.1 82.4 81.9 81.5 81.2 79.9

The participation rate of 25- to 34-year-olds also has mostly declined since 2000. The group had a participation rate of 83.2 percent in 1994, declining to 82.7 percent in 2004. The rate then fell to 81.2 percent in 2014 and is projected to stay essentially flat in the next decade.

Two other age groups—those 35 to 44 years old and those 45 to 54 years old—also have seen their participation rates decline since 2000. The labor force participation rates of these two groups were 83.6 percent and 81.8 percent, respectively, in 2004, falling to 82.2 percent and 79.6 percent in 2014.

Over the 2014–24 timeframe, 35- to-44-year-olds are expected to have a declining participation rate, dropping from 82.2 percent to 81.7 percent. The 45- to-54-year-old group is projected to have a slightly increasing participation rate, going from 79.6 percent to 81.0 percent.

For more information, see “Labor force projections to 2024: the labor force is growing, but slowly” by Mitra Toossi in the December 2015 Monthly Labor Review. Visit Employment Projections for the 2014–24 news release and related data.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor force participation projections among age groups from 2014 to 2024 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/labor-force-participation-projections-among-age-groups-from-2014-to-2024.htm (visited August 12, 2020).

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