The Greening of a Graying America

This might be hard to believe, based on a current national unemployment rate of 10 percent and rates in many states currently above the 12 percent mark, but there is a worker shortage on the horizon, and it is those citizens most worried about the economy’s appearance over the next several years…the baby boomers…who will be looked to as the means by which the shortage may be filled.

Barry Bluestone and Mark Melnik are the authors of After the Recovery: Help Needed, which is a report that was recently prepared for Northeastern University’s Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.  The study details that we could see roughly 15 million new nonfarm payroll jobs created in the next eight years, with only about 9 million additional workers available to fill the slots (based on projected population and labor force participation rates).

Here’s why boomers will be so valuable: the labor force participation rates of younger generations typically hover around 80 percent, while the same rates for “younger” older Americans (age 55 to 65) are around 60-65 percent; simply, this means that there’s more room for growth from within the pool of older Americans.  Complementary to the need for more workers and the greater room illustrated in the labor rates of our seasoned citizens is the fact that so many of these jobs will be of a non-physical nature.  Of the career categories cited, those expected to have the most vacancies to fill include teaching, health care, business operations, and general business management; no scaffolds, cranes, ladders, or weight belts needed.

This news should suit a lot of Americans very nicely.  I am well known for eschewing the idea of retirement, because I think it is unhealthy for both your bank account as well as your physical and emotional well-being.  Save your money, to be sure, but also give your financial profile even greater “punch” by working just as long as you can; according to the data, you will have ample opportunity to do just that. 


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Bob Yetman is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the just-released book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and the new unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes – How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press).


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