Labor Force Participation Civilian NonInstitutional Population
Although unemployment is down and an additional 10.5 million people are expected to be employed over the 2016 to 2026 decade, the diminishing rate of labor force growth due to an aging population and other changing demographics is projected to further slow the U.S. labor force participation rate. This is the fourth factoid in a series of six factoids detailing the projected demographic shifts in the workforce as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017 Q4. *See factoid one in this series for Labor Force Methodology
The labor force participation rate is the percent of the people working or looking for employment, divided by the total number of people over age 16. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the fourth quarter of last year paints a picture of varied growth patterns in labor force participation rates among different age, gender, race and ethnic groups. These participation rates highlight some the economic and social frustrations in America today as government entities, education leaders and communities struggle to find solutions.
While growth continues in both the adult civilian population and labor force, as discussed earlier, the rate has slowed and is projected to continue to slow. In the 20-year period between 1996 and 2006, both grew at about the same rate – 1.3 percent average per year for the population over age 16 versus 1.2 percent labor force growth. However, during the 10-year period of the Great Recession and subsequent recovery 2006 to 2016, the rates got out of whack, with the civilian population over 16 years of age growing on average 1 percent annually while the labor force grew only half that rate. The gap between the civilian population over 16 and the labor force population (those working or looking for work) will narrow only slightly in the years ahead to 2026.
The large 65 plus older total population is on course to grow exponentially from 2016 to 2026 with most leaving the workforce. And while age segments 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 show growth during this decade, the number of 16 to 24 year olds is expected to decrease alongside 45 to 54 year olds. Those ages 55 to 64, many still choosing to stay longer in the workforce, projects a flat population growth.