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Labour force


That part of the population which is employed or available for work. The fact that the birth rate fluctuates and changes over time means that the labour force is not a constant proportion of the total population. In the U.K., for instance, the size of the labour force increased during the 1970s, reaching a peak in 1979. Since that year there has been a fall in its size although the population as a whole has increased. These movements therefore have an important effect on the growth of national income per head.

Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.