Thursday, September 17, 2015

The increasing importance of Hispanics to the U.S. workforce

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Monthly Labor Review naturally gives rise for reflection upon how the demographic characteristics of the American workforce have dramatically changed. One of the most obvious examples is the structural increase in the presence of women in the labor force. Even in the past quarter of century, data from the 1990 and 2014 Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that the growth rate in the number of women civilian workers ages 16 and above outpaced that for men (29.0 percent versus 21.4 percent).

The demographic shift with respect to ethnicity has also been striking in recent years. Sparked by immigration and relatively high fertility rates, the number of Hispanics in the civilian U.S. workforce more than doubled, from 10.7 million to 25.4 million workers between 1990 and 2014. This 137-percent increase dwarfed the 13-percent increase in the number of non-Hispanic civilian workers by more than a factor of 10, nearly doubling the representation of Hispanics among all civilian workers during this time (from 8.5 percent to 16.0 percent).

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