The U.S. population is growing at an average rate of a little more than 1% per year. It is reasonable to expect that the labor force should also be growing. However, the civilian labor force has declined on year-to-year basis three different times in 2009. See the following graph.
Declining Labor Force GrowthThere is a well-defined downtrend in the growth of the labor force starting about 1970. It may not be obvious when first looking at the noisy data of the graph above, but when the same data are smoothed using 12-month moving averages combined with trend lines, the declining labor force growth rate is very evident. See the following graph.