What is the Labour Force and What Does it Mean?

The labour force is made up of people from the non-institutional civilian population aged sixteen or over who are either employed or unemployed and actively looking for work. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program (LAUS) estimates the number of workforce participants who are employed or unemployed. Those who are neither employed nor unemployed, such as retired people, students, people caring for children or other family members, and those not working or looking for work, are not part of the labour force. The labour force participation rate is the proportion of the population that works or seeks work.

To calculate the unemployment rate (UR), divide the number of unemployed people by the labour force and multiply by 100. The labour force participation rate is a ratio between the labour force and the entire civilian population. The labour force includes more than just full-time and part-time jobs. Every August, information is released on the participation of young people aged 16 to 24 in the workforce from April to July.

Marginalised people are those who are not part of the workforce but want to work and are available to work, and have sought work at some point in the previous 12 months, but were not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. The labour force participation rate is the percentage of economically active people in the total population of people of working age. If a person actively chooses not to work, such as a stay-at-home parent, a full-time student, or a retired person, they are not included in the labour force. Once the unemployment rate is known, it can be used to determine the number of people in the labour force who work compared to a workforce comprised of all those participating in an economic activity within a particular population. In summary, the labour force is made up of all civilian workers together with unemployed people who are actively seeking work.

It does not include active military service members or federal workers. The labour force participation rate is a measure of how many people are actively working or looking for work compared to those who are not.

Marlene Barcelo
Marlene Barcelo

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