- Most baby boomers are still in the labor force, and the oldest ones are staying in the workforce at higher rates than people their age did in previous generations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. workforce data. In 2018, 29% of older baby boomers ages 65 to 72 were still working or job hunting, compared to 21% of the silent generation and 19% of the greatest generation during the same age range.
- Younger baby boomers ages 54 to 64 showed an even higher rate of labor force participation at 66%, but that is not a record given a similar labor force participation of this age demographic during the Great Recession, Pew noted. According to Pew, about 3.8 million baby boomers are expected to turn 65 each year between 2010 and 2029, a rate of about 10,000 per day. But because of older baby boomers' typically long tenures, the rate at which those individuals will leave the workforce is actually much slower at about 5,900 per day, Pew said.
- The report also showed that baby boomers who remained in the labor force in 2018 differed demographically from those who left previously, per the analysis. Thirty-eight percent of baby boomers still in the labor force in 2018 had at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 27% of those who had left. Baby boomers who were still working were slightly more likely to be non-Hispanic white and living in metropolitan areas, Pew said.
Older workers may stay in the workforce for a variety of reasons, but previous research shows many can't afford retirement, and in many cases have trouble saving for it. Workers also indicate a rising expectation of working past age 65, Pew noted citing research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Other sources back up the Pew report's findings; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data in May showing that 40% of workers ages 55 and older are still working or actively looking for work, and a third of those workers are in occupations with moderate to high growth projections between 2016 and 2026.
Not all older workers who need to work can find jobs; ageism is a barrier that many still face, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Yet some employers have decided to take another look at the older demographic groups as a potential new talent pool in their efforts to fill openings.
McDonald's, for example, announced in April a partnership with AARP and AARP Foundation in which the fast-food company will post jobs to AARP's job board and take advantage of the foundation's workforce development programs. As part of the announcement, McDonald's said it wanted to tap into "a growing, yet underutilized workforce."