Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

The Aging Worker

A recent story in USA Today highlights a significant labor market development: Older workers cannot afford to stop working and younger workers cannot find work. 

According to the article:

The number of people 55 and older holding jobs is on track to hit a record 28 million in 2010 while young people increasingly are squeezed out of the labor market . . . .

The portion of people ages 16-24 in the labor market is at the lowest level since the government began keeping track in 1948, falling from 66% in 2000 to 55% this year. There are 17 million in that age group who are employed, the fewest since 1971 when the population was much smaller.

By contrast, people in their 50s, 60s or 70s are staying employed longer than at any time on record. For example, 55% of people ages 60 to 64 were in the labor market during the first 11 months of 2010, up from 47% for the same period in 2000.

The chart below highlights these trends.  And of course attacks on social security will only serve to force older workers to remain working longer.  Given the lack of private sector job creation, this development is bound to make it even harder for younger workers to find employment.  This is not a healthy development and one that will not be easily reversed without significant structural changes in the workings of our economy.

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