It's the Economy

January’s Aging Workforce: Grayer

January Record Worker Levels for those over 55 Years of Old

The January Jobs Report caught some people off-guard. The “experts” were anticipating a slower growth month, possibly slowing to 165,000 to 175,000 workers being added to the economy. Some prognosticators thought that he seasonally adjusted “non-farm payroll” worker streak could end, Hint: Former President Obama’s Jobs Streak was in the Private Sector.

This column has already published (a number) of articles regarding the January Jobs Report:

Just about any way that you look at the data, this was a strong report. January is normally the worst month of the year. We are ahead of where we were last January. All sectors grew January to January. How are we doing by age group?

There were dips in the the number of workers during the Great Recession. Some of those age groups have not recovered, while those 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, and 75 years of age and older have expanded since January 2008.

Only Two Age Groups saw their workforce populations grow this January. The Workforce population data is revised “every” January. January of 2017 the workforce population was revised lower by 0.26%, boosting the participation rate a little. January 2018 the workforce population was revised higher by the same percentage, thereby reducing the workforce participation more than anticipated. This year the yo-yo went the other way with the workforce population being trimmed by 0.25%.  The month to month and January to January populations were revised lower for those 16-24 and those 45-54 years of age. The workforce population was revised lower month to month and saw growth January to January for those 25-44 years of age and 55-69 years of age.  Population Levels for those 25-39 years old and 55 years and older are January records. The only two age groups that had their workforce population grow month to month and January to January were those 70-74 years of age and those 75 years and older.

Employment was at January Record Levels for those over the age of 55.  Employment was down month to month and January to January for those 20-24 years old and for those 45-54 years of age. An employment record was set for 70-74 year olds this January. In general, all other age groups saw month to month drops in employment, non-seasonally adjusted,  and January to January gains in employment.

Unemployment Rose for all all age groups month to month. Unemployment as measured by the jobs report are those who are out of work who are looking for work. This is different from the weekly unemployment data for those who had work and are out of work.  What is interesting is that unemployment rose month to month and January to January for those 20-24 years of age, 55-59 years of age, and 65 years of a and 40-54 years of age working now than we had during January 2007ge and older.

Older workers are over-participating. There are some in the media who have blamed the drop in participation rates during the Obama administration on retiring Baby Boomers (Those born between 1945 and 1964.) The “problem” is that the workforce participation rates have increased  for those  55 years of age and older. The workforce participation rate is identical to that from January 2007 for those 25-29 years of age. The participation rates for all other age groups are  roughly 1% to 5% lower for the other age groups.

There were fewer workers between the age of 16 and 49 working during 2008-2012 than we had working during January of 2007.  We did see the number of people 50-54 years of age drop during January of 2010 and January 2011. We have fewer people 16-19 years of age and 40-54 years of age working now than we had during January 2007.

If you examine the data then you will realize that there has been an “age shift” that has happened during the past 12 years. Those people who were 40-45 years of age during 2009 are now in the 50-55 year old range. The participation rates normally decline as people pass the age of 50. The thing is that there are definite gap for those 40-54 years of age. This drop in workers has slid as the workforce population has aged. Younger workers  are not participating at the rate they did prior to the recession.

It’s the economy.

Categories: It's the Economy

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