Labor Force Demographics and Supply

Topic Leaders: Andrew Sum and Paul Harrington

Demographic breakdowns of the labor force generally involve age, sex, and race/ethnicity. The labor force is not fixed; employment data suggest substantial workforce turnover and entry into and out of employment. Longer-term concerns under this research cluster involve the aging of the workforce and its growing diversity. 


More short-term concerns involve labor force participation, broken down demographically, and the causes of inter-group variation in such participation. Dynamic considerations affecting participation include business cycle conditions, job attractiveness, and public policies such as “welfare-to-work” that push low-income people toward employment.


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