Volume 32 - Article 15 | Pages 443–486

Labor force projections up to 2053 for 26 EU countries, by age, sex, and highest level of educational attainment

By Elke Loichinger

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Date received:11 Feb 2013
Date published:17 Feb 2015
Word count:8882
Keywords:Europe, human capital, labor force projections


Background: One expected consequence of population aging in Europe is the shrinkage of the labor force. Most existing labor force projections allow only inferences about the size and age structure of the future labor force.

Objective: In comparison to existing labor force projections, which disaggregate only by age and sex, these projections include information about the highest level of educational attainment (tertiary vs. non-tertiary education), so that an additional level of heterogeneity in labor force participation is considered. This heterogeneity enters the projection methodology through population projection data as well as labor force participation data, since both components are decomposed in the three dimensions of age, sex, and education. Based on data from the European Labor Force Survey (EU LFS), three scenarios were designed to project the economically active population for 26 EU countries up to 2053.

Results: Adding the educational dimension to labor force projections discloses a significant shift towards tertiary education degrees between 2008 and 2053. This educational upgrading of the European labor force is not driven by developments in a few large countries but can be expected to take place in each of the 26 analyzed countries.

Conclusions: A better educated but shrinking labor force is likely to be able to alleviate some of the anticipated economic consequences of population aging. The presented projections of education-specific labor supply can serve as inputs into forecasts of economic growth that include educational differentials in labor productivity.

Author's Affiliation

Elke Loichinger - Chulalongkorn University, Thailand [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Changes in economic activity: The role of age and education
Volume 36 - Article 40

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