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More Seniors in the Job Force than Teenagers

Today in the United States there are significantly more seniors in the labor force than teenagers. The shift happened in 2007-2008. And it’s the first time ever that seniors outnumbered teenagers in the labor force.

The New York Times says that the recession is the primary driver of this shift; seniors saw their savings disappear and pensions crumble, and as a result had to stay in the workforce longer. Of course baby boomers are aging as well, and they make up the largest part of the labor market. So one would expect the shift to continue. Meanwhile teenagers find it harder to find work in tough economic times and often give up.
For young people the numbers are particularly depressing. At The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0, Dr. Ira Wolfe points to a recent Pew Research Center survey that showed a smaller share of 16-24 year olds are currently employed (46.1%) than at any time since the government began collecting such data (in 1948).

Dr. Ira Wolfe goes on to say:
At best long-term implications of low unemployment for young workers include young adults living at home longer, higher college enrollment, and more internships. But a deep concern is growing how delayed entry into the workforce will translate into employee preparedness, not to mention the loss of lifetime earnings.
The trend in 2010 seems to be correcting, but the recession hit many baby boomers and seniors very hard. The long term repercussions are still unknown, although it’s clear that expectations to retire are being put aside as people re-stock their shelves for the future.