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January 2012, Vol. 135, No. 1
Labor force projections to 2020: a more slowly growing workforce
Mitra Toossi is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The projected labor force growth over the next 10 years will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation; as a result, the labor force is projected to grow at a slower rate than in the last several decades.
The recession of 2007–2009, a sluggish labor market, crises in the financial and credit markets, and weakness in the housing sector have combined to create great uncertainty about the future of the U.S. economy and labor market. However, despite all these problems, a positive force in the economy is the size and demographic composition of the U.S. population, which together determine the growth and composition of the labor force. As suggested by the saying "Demography is destiny,"1 demography is a key driving force in the growth of the U.S. economy, the growth of the labor force, and almost all social and economic trends.
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1 Attributed to the 19th-century French philosopher Auguste Compte. The idea is that the social, cultural, and economic fabric of a nation derives in large part from its population dynamics.
Labor force projections to 2018: older workers staying more active—Nov. 2009.
Labor force projections to 2016: more workers in their golden years—Nov. 2007.
Labor force projections to 2014: retiring boomers.—Nov. 2005.
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