More People Seeking Work Today than Three Years Ago

From December 2016 through September 2019, the share of the population in the labor force has grown across all demographic groups as people come off the sidelines. This is especially true for black men and Hispanic women, through people from every demographic group have increased their participation.


  • The labor force participation rate for black men increased from 62.3 percent in December 2016 to 64.9 percent in September 2019. This represents a 2.6 percentage point increase, or 4.2 percent increase.
  • Hispanic women experienced a labor force participation rate increase of 2.3 percentage points, from 58.8 percent to 61.1 percent over the same period.
  • Overall, the black labor force participation rate increased 0.6 percent; the Hispanic participation rate increased 1.8 percent; the White participation rate increased 0.8 percent.

Economist Corner:

The biggest gains in the workforce have been among those most often sidelined from the labor market in the past. These include women in general, particularly Hispanic women and black and Hispanic males. The “hot” economy of the last few years is to thank. As unemployment stays low and the economy continues to grow, this trend should continue.