World Facts

Labor Force By Country

A major factor in sustaining any country’s economy is its labor force. Countries such as the United States and China connect high GDP, total population, and labor force size.

The population of people who supply the labor for the goods and service is the labor force, and it stands as a vital element of a country’s economic standing. The general labor force includes such groups as the unemployed and new job seekers, in addition to those already employed. Unpaid caregivers in the service of others, as well as those who identify as domestic homemakers, are not included in the data concerning the labor force, as they do not directly contribute to Gross National Product of a country. The labor force usually is a collective of people aged 15 and older who meet the requirements of labor organizations' definitions of that population that can be occupationally active. Not only do laborers provide manpower to produce goods and render services, they also create innovative ideas and provide the zeal that give economies necessary gumption.

The World’s Largest Labor Forces

The countries with the largest labor forces in the world are China, India, and the United States, with 804,200,000 laborers, 492,400,000 laborers, and 155,900,000 laborers, respectively. There are some key factors that allow these nations to field such substantial numbers of available workers. While population is the primary factor, others, such as age distribution, education level, and accessibility to youth and women, are key determinants as well. Since they possess the three largest labor forces globally, we will look most closely at the occupational characteristics of China, India, and the United States. Other countries with world-leading labor force populations are Indonesia (121,900,000 laborers), Brazil (108,000,000), Bangladesh (80,270,000), Russia (75,430,000), Japan (65,870,000), Pakistan (61,550,000), and Nigeria (55,780,000).

Cultural Differences in Youth Expectations: The U.S. vs. India

In countries such as the United States, a person can enter the workforce at 15 years old. However, in recent years many high school and college students have opted to delay their entries into the work force in order to first pursue and attain their educational goals. Of course, there are some students who both work and attend educational pursuits. The rate over the past decade of students working, however, has declined. In the case India, the expectations for increased production from the up-and-coming generations are higher than almost anywhere else in the world. They see youth entries into the workforce as opportunities for the country to continue to grow and strengthen its economy. India has taken into consideration that, with younger minds entering the workforce, the opportunity for innovative and creative ideas to contribute to the country will undoubtedly expand as well.

The Migrant Workforce

Another factor that contributes to a large labor force is the number of migrant workers. A migrant worker is someone who makes the decision to work outside of their home country. The countries with the highest growth rates tend to also have the most migrant workers. In China, most of migrant workers employed are typically between 40 and 55 years old. Most of the workers are employed in rural areas, but many pursue employment in the construction sector as well. The United States has between 1 and 3 million migrant farm workers, most of whom come from across the Mexican border. Each year, these workers plant and tend to farming needs and help secure the country's food security. The typical age of migrant workers in the United States is around 30 years old, and most are males who travel alone, often sending back monies they earn to families in their native lands. India also has many migrant workers, most of whom move from one project to the next in search of agricultural work as well.

Ever-Changing Occupational Environments

The development of technology is one of the fastest growing sectors of the workforce today. Nonetheless, the availability of food is vital to a country's sustainability, and without those willing to take up traditional agricultural jobs, it will be difficult for any country to thrive. As younger generations enter the workforce and determine what they desire their life's work to become, it will be interesting to see the new creative ideas to arise and further global society at large. Regardless of what choices are made in such decisions, those who enter the workforce every day join the ranks serving as the foundations of modern society, no matter the station of their respective employment.

Labor Force By Country

RankCountryLabor Force Population
1China804,200,000
2India492,400,000
3United States155,900,000
4Indonesia121,900,000
5Brazil108,000,000
6Bangladesh80,270,000
7Russia75,430,000
8Japan65,870,000
9Pakistan61,550,000
10Nigeria55,780,000
11Vietnam54,170,000
12Mexico51,920,000
13Ethiopia47,540,000
14Germany44,790,000
15Philippines40,870,000
16Thailand38,960,000
17Burma35,230,000
18United Kingdom32,760,000
19France29,790,000
20Turkey28,790,000
21Iran28,400,000
22Egypt27,900,000
23Congo, Democratic Republic of the27,610,000
24South Korea26,540,000
25Italy25,500,000

More in World Facts