Percent Change in Labor Force

Percent Change in Labor Force

What does this measure?

Growth or decline in the total number of people available for work, including currently employed individuals, unemployed individuals, and individuals able to work but not actively seeking work at the time.

Why is this important?

The size of the labor force is an indicator of people's willingness and ability to find work. In a period of rapid economic growth, a larger share of the population (including teens, second earners in a family, and elders) will find roles in the workforce. The statistic indicates the health of an economy, particularly when considered along with the unemployment rate, which measures the proportion of the workforce that lacks jobs, but is seeking work.

How is our county performing?

In 2017, there were 212,100 people in Berks County's labor force, down 0.6% from the previous year. Berks County's labor force was larger than in neighboring Lebanon, Lehigh and Schuylkill counties, but smaller than Chester, Lancaster and Montgomery counties. Between 2000 and 2017, Berks County's labor force grew 9%, an increase larger than Pennsylvania, at 5%, but smaller than the nation at 12%. Three neighboring counties experienced larger gains than Berks did - Chester (19%), Lancaster (11%) and Lehigh (16%). Montgomery and Lebanon saw increases in their labor forces that were similar to Berks, while Schuylkill declined 6%.

Notes about the data

County-level estimates are based on relatively small samples, and the true number may vary considerably from the estimate. Data for this indicator are released annually in April.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Percent Change in Labor Force
United StatesN/A0.8%0.8%1.1%0.6%1.3%1.4%1.1%0.8%-0.1%-0.2%-0.2%0.9%0.3%0.3%0.8%1.3%0.7%
Berks CountyN/A0.9%0.6%-2.5%1.3%1.5%1.3%0.9%1.7%-1.3%3.1%0.0%0.8%-0.2%-0.2%0.7%0.4%-0.6%
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester CountyN/A2.3%1.6%0.6%1.2%2.3%2.8%1.5%2.6%-2.2%0.5%0.2%1.1%0.2%0.1%1.2%1.2%0.3%
Lancaster CountyN/A1.6%1.9%-1.0%2.5%1.2%-0.2%0.9%1.8%-1.8%-0.6%-0.8%1.2%0.5%0.8%1.2%1.4%0.1%
Lebanon CountyN/A2.4%1.6%-0.1%3.0%1.8%1.5%1.3%1.7%-0.8%-3.7%-0.3%1.5%-0.2%-0.9%-0.1%0.8%-0.1%
Lehigh CountyN/A1.9%0.7%0.2%0.6%1.3%2.0%0.9%1.8%-0.3%-0.7%1.3%1.9%0.2%-0.1%1.5%1.8%-0.2%
Montgomery CountyN/A2.0%0.9%-0.4%-0.2%0.7%1.0%0.7%1.9%-3.0%1.2%-0.0%1.2%0.0%0.2%1.0%1.5%0.3%
Schuylkill CountyN/A-0.1%-0.1%-0.9%0.7%0.9%1.4%2.8%1.2%-0.8%-4.4%-0.9%1.3%-1.0%-1.8%-1.2%-0.9%-1.9%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total Labor Force
United States142,583,000143,734,000144,863,000146,510,000147,401,000149,320,000151,428,000153,124,000154,287,000154,142,000153,889,000153,617,000154,975,000155,389,000155,922,000157,130,000159,187,000160,320,000
Berks County195,287196,976198,134193,110195,697198,712201,350203,068206,505203,891210,144210,158211,794211,343211,004212,498213,262212,082
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County236,657242,002245,876247,448250,462256,305263,375267,222274,238268,122269,534270,047272,976273,546273,880277,062280,415281,136
Lancaster County251,460255,424260,329257,851264,391267,575267,104269,595274,555269,564268,009265,997269,189270,471272,597275,981279,894280,293
Lebanon County64,37365,92666,95666,87068,88570,11771,16672,12473,36972,76370,06169,83670,90770,73970,13370,06370,59970,550
Lehigh County163,039166,059167,288167,631168,571170,760174,194175,800178,950178,430177,192179,493182,868183,305183,072185,778189,074188,781
Montgomery County410,178418,261422,025420,500419,558422,571426,868430,052438,010425,087430,378430,366435,595435,621436,596440,895447,537448,710
Schuylkill County70,18470,14670,07069,46069,97070,57871,57273,59274,49673,92870,68870,05270,98370,24568,98468,18667,57966,298

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Maintaining
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Increasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing