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Slower growth is expected in the population, labor force, and Gross Domestic Product through 2032

September 14, 2023

Projections for the population, labor force, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are closely related. All three are expected to experience slower growth over the 2022–32 projections period relative to the growth rates seen over the previous several decades.

Annual percentage growth in population, labor force, and Gross Domestic Product, 1962–2022 and projected 2022–32
Period Population Labor force Gross Domestic Product

1962–72

1.8 2.1 4.3

1972–82

1.8 2.4 2.4

1982–92

1.1 1.5 3.6

1992–02

1.2 1.2 3.4

2002–12

1.1 0.7 1.9

2012–22

0.8 0.6 2.1

2022–32, projected

0.7 0.4 1.9

The population is projected to grow 0.7 percent over the 2022–32 period. Population growth has slowed for the past several decades, largely driven by declining fertility rates. The number of people in the labor force is projected to reach 170.7 million in 2032, an annual increase of 0.4 percent over the projection decade. This slowdown, from 0.6 percent annual growth over 2012–22, reflects the aging population. While the baby-boom generation—ages 57–76 in 2022—tend to work later in life relative to previous generations, their labor force participation rates remain lower than younger workers.

The increasing older population, combined with their lower propensity to work, acts as a constraint on overall labor force growth. Slower growth in the labor force is, in turn, expected to contribute to slower GDP growth through the target year (1.9 percent annual growth). The 2022–32 GDP growth is in line with that of in recent decades, but slower than the growth that occurred prior to the turn of the century.

These data are from the BLS Employment Projections program. For more information, see the Monthly Labor Review article, "Labor force and aggregate economy projections overview and highlights, 2022–32," by Kevin Dubina, September 2023. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Slower growth is expected in the population, labor force, and Gross Domestic Product through 2032 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/slower-growth-is-expected-in-the-population-labor-force-and-gross-domestic-product-through-2032.htm (visited May 29, 2024).

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