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