The labor force, or workforce, is the total number of people who are currently employed plus the number of people who are unemployed and actively seeking employment. This number does not include people who are unemployed and are not looking for employment, such as students and retirees. The workforce, or currently working population, includes all people who meet the requirements for inclusion among employees (civil employment plus the armed forces) or the unemployed. Employees are defined as those who work for a salary or benefits for at least one hour a week, or who have a job but are not working temporarily due to illness, leave, or union action.
The armed forces include personnel from the metropolitan territory from the total available workforce who served in the armed forces during the period considered, whether stationed in the metropolitan territory or elsewhere. The unemployed are defined as people without work but who are actively seeking employment and who are currently available to start working. This indicator is seasonally adjusted and measured in people. The concept of labor force is used primarily by economists and financial professionals around the world to determine the health and state of an economy.
In other words, it is a representation of the labor force of a particular country or segment of the economy. The labor force is the sum of employees plus the unemployed, and the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed divided by the number of the labor force. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program (LAUS) estimates the number of workforce participants who are employed or unemployed.