Study: Baby Boomers Are Not Stealing Younger Workers’ Jobs
Baby Boomers are ruining it for everyone else, taking up all of the jobs and making life tougher for younger workers.
At least, that’s one theory of why many younger Americans are struggling in the job market. But new research suggests that’s not the case. A new paper from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project shows that, though younger workers may be hurting right now from the economic downturn, they over the longer term tend to gain jobs alongside older workers. From 1977 to 2011, the report finds, a one-percentage-point increase in employment among workers age 55 to 64 was associated with a 0.2-percentage point increase in the employment rate for 25-to-54-year-olds, and a 0.21-percentage point increase for workers age 20 to 24.
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Understanding exactly why different age groups gain jobs together is difficult, says Erin Currier, Pew project manager, but she believes it may simply be that an improving job market boosts everyone.
“If the job market is positive, the economy can clearly expand for a whole host of different kinds of workers,” she says.
More older workers in the workforce isn’t just associated with a bump in the number of younger workers. The Pew data also show that a one-percentage-point increase in employment for workers age 55 to 64 is also associated with increases in hours worked for younger workers, as well as small declines in those workers’ unemployment rates—by 0.1 percentage point for workers age 20 to 24 and by 0.05 percentage points for workers age 25 to 54.