Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the historical evolution of the labor force and wages in the United States from 1800 to the present. Standard data sources for tracing this evolution, such as the decennial census and the Current Population Survey, are discussed. Basic statistics on the size of the labor force (total number of workers and in proportion to the population), its demographic composition (gender and age), the distribution of occupations, hours worked, unemployment rates, and wages are presented and interpreted. The shift from bound labor (indentured servitude and slavery) to free labor, the rise of unions, and government regulation of labor markets are examined. The chapter concludes with suggestions for further research.

Keywords: labor force, decennial census, Current Population Survey, size, demographic composition, distribution of occupations, hours of work, unemployment, wages, bound labor, unions, regulation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.