The Aging Workforce

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 27 2014 8:23 AM

The Aging Workforce

Population aging and demographic change normally get discussed in terms of the rising share of retired people to working-age ones. But in practice different people retire at different ages for different reasons. And over the past 20 years, the share of people over the age of 55 who are in the labor force has pretty steadily risen. Put that together with population aging, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the share of the workforce that's composed of people over 55 should steadily rise over time:

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This is going to be something for people in the business world to ponder. Just because the overall mix of workers rises, for example, doesn't mean that your particular enterprise's need for managers and other senior employees is going to rise. As aging works its way through the entire population, historical links between actual age and "seniority" on the job are probably going to have to attenuate somewhat. Conversely, very young workers are going to find themselves being integrated into enterprises that are even more dominated by the sensibilities of old people than is the case today.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.