Room for Boomers

baby boomer social security cardMore and more baby boomers — even many of the oldest boomers — still are working in the labor force, and the trend appears to be, well, booming.

In 2018, 29% of baby boomers between the ages of 65 and 72 either were working or looking for work, according to the latest analysis of labor force data released in July from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center. That far surpasses the percentages of those born from 1926 to 1945 known as the silent generation (21%). It also exceeds the greatest generation — those born between 1910 and 1924 — (19%) working when they were the same age.

Among younger baby boomers — ages 54 to 64 — the percentage of those in the labor force in 2018 was 66%.

The numbers appear to jive with workers’ expectations of how long they’ll remain in the workforce.

“The high rate of boomer labor force participation — relative to recent generations — is consistent with workers’ rising expectations that they will work past age 65,” Pew wrote in its analysis. “The Employee Benefit Research Institute found in a 2016 survey that 45% of workers ages 55 and older expect to retire after age 65, up from 15% of such workers in the 1996 survey.”

According to analysts, the higher numbers of working boomers are not only beneficial for those individuals, but could be a boon for the economy, too.

“For the economy as a whole,” Pew wrote, “economic growth, in part, depends on labor force growth, and the boomers staying in the workforce bolsters the latter.”

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