Saturday, May 26, 2018

EBRI Research Shows Continuing Impact of Baby Boomers on Labor Force

Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that the baby-boom generation has created a wave of sorts moving through the U.S. labor force for the last four decades. According to "Labor Force Participation Rates by Age and Gender and the Age and Gender Composition of the U.S. Civilian Labor Force and Adult Population," published as Research Brief No. 449, as boomers have entered each age demographic, that group has become the largest component of the population and of the labor force, and that, now, as the last of the Baby Boomers enter their mid 50s, and as they are living longer than prior generations, their impact on the age of the U.S. population and labor force is unmistakable.

Among other findings in the paper authored by Craig Copeland:
  • While the portion of the total labor force ages 55 or older continued to increase since 2007, the uptick has been primarily attributable to the continued aging of the baby boom generation into these ages, and not to an increasing percentage of older workers remaining in the labor force. Before 2007, the increasing share of workers ages 55 or older was due, both to increases in the labor force participation rates for these ages and to the large baby boom generation beginning to reach these ages.
  • From the employer perspective, the increase in the share of individuals ages 55 or older in the population and in the labor force means that employers have been, and will continue to be, challenged to provide benefits that meet the needs of these older workers, while still meeting the needs of younger workers who are starting to grow as a share of the labor force.
  • The share of the labor force that is ages 55 or older will continue to grow in the short term because of the size of the baby boom generation, but will begin to shrink as the next generation of workers reach age 55.
  • Many employers are likely to be faced with a bimodal labor force distribution across the ages–larger numbers of both older and younger workers with fewer numbers of workers at ages in between–which presents different (and possibly incompatible) compensation and benefit challenges.
Source: EBRI Press Release (May 22, 2018)

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