Labor Force

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Labor Force


the total number of people who are physically capable of adequately participating in social labor. Owing to different socioeconomic conditions, the age limits defining the labor force in a country are in practice bound up with certain traditions and legal norms, that is, qualifications pertaining to, for example, age or education.

The percentage of the total population in the labor force depends on the population’s age structure. While in developing countries less than 50 percent of the population is in the labor force, the figure in developed capitalist countries reaches 65 percent. In worldwide statistics, it is accepted practice to take the years 15 and 64 as the lower and upper age limits. As of 1970, the labor force defined by these limits constituted 58.2 percent of the world population.

The concept of the labor force is close to that of labor resources, but the latter term takes into consideration not only age but also such factors as skills, qualifications, and the number of people in various occupations.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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