Only the retirement-age workers are increasing

This chart from May is making the rounds on the Internet.  It shows that the number of retirement-age workers still in the work force is increasing, and the number in their prime working years is decreasing.

The theory was that the work force would shrink when the Baby Boomers reached retirement age.  Instead the Boomers are staying in the work force in larger numbers than their immediate predecessors.  I imagine this is because many lost part or most of their retirement savings in the financial markets crash, and many are working at lower-paid jobs than they figured on.  The fact that the Social Security retirement age is creeping up doesn’t help.

Keep in mind that the people in the various age segments in 2012 are not the same people who were in these segments in 2008.  My guess is that, because of the bad job situation, a lot of young people are staying in school longer or being supported by their parents.  But there is a decline in the number of working-age people in the work force in all age brackets.  Not a good sign.

Click on Is the Labor Force Shrinking Due to Boomer Retirement? (Not Mostly) for the original post on Political Math, which tells how the figures in the chart were calculated, and has more information on Baby Boomer employment and retirement.

Click on The young are leaving the labor force, the old are flocking to it for a report by Suzy Khimm in the Washington Post.

Hat tip to  The Dish.

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