Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New figures: Hispanics power U.S. labor force

Projections indicate that Hispanics will account for an amazing 74% of the growth in the U.S. labor force from 2010 to 2020, says data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This increase is much higher than what we saw in the previous two decades, according to Pew Research Center commentary. Hispanics accounted for just 36% of the total increase in the labor force from 1990 to 2000 and for 54% from 2000 to 2010.

A major reason for the increase of Hispanics in the labor force is simply that the Hispanic population is growing rapidly. That is due both to new births and to immigration. At the same time, the aging of the non-Hispanic white population will likely reduce their numbers in the labor force.

Another important factor to consider is that Hispanics have a higher labor force participation rate than other groups. The nation's labor force participation rate is the share of the population ages 16 and older which is either employed or looking for work. That number was 64.7% in 2010. Among Hispanics, however, the rate was 67.5%.

There are two main explanations for this gap:
  1. Hispanics are a younger population than other groups. 
  2. Hispanics include a higher share of immigrants.
These new statistics about Hispanics come from the latest round of BLS projections for the U.S. labor force, covering 2010-2020. They indicate that growth will slow overall.

These projections show that the labor force will increase by 10.5 million in this decade, growing to 164.4 million in 2020 from 153.9 million in 2010. That's less than the increase of 11.3 million from 2000 to 2010, and substantially less than the 16.7 million increase from 1990 to 2000.

The projected average annual increase in the labor force from 2010 to 2020--0.7%--is also less than the annual growth of 0.8% from 2000 to 2010 and only about half the 1.3% annual rate of growth from 1990 to 2000.

The commentary, "Labor Force Growth Slows, Hispanic Share Grows," authored by Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research, Pew Hispanic Center, can be accessed on the Pew Hispanic Center website and on All Things Census at the Pew Social & Demographic Trends website.

The Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Social & Demographic Trends are projects of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C., and funded byThe Pew Charitable Trusts.

Source: The Pew Hispanic Center

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