Boomers postponing retirement may boost economy


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Baby boomer is a term used to describe a person who was born between 1946 and 1964.

Marisol Chavez, Web Editor

Baby Boomers are staying in the work force much longer and in bigger numbers than generations before them when they were the same age, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of official labor force data.

The Pew Research Center identifies Boomers as those who were born between 1946 and 1964.

In 2018, 29% of older Boomers, born between 1946 and 1953, in the U.S. were either working or looking for work. This engagement in the labor force is 28% greater than that of the Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1945, and 34% greater than that of the Greatest Generation, born in 1924 or earlier, when they were the same age.

According to Nathan Ashby, associate professor of economics at the University of Texas at El Paso, this phenomenon is not necessarily attributed to a need to keep working, but to a desire to keep busy.

“People think, ‘What am I going to do when I retire?’” Ashby said.

Ashby explained that the workforce has evolved greatly, benefiting those who wish to continue working because some jobs can be very comfortable.

“People (used to) work late at night or work hard labor jobs, they couldn’t wait to finish,” Ashby said. “The jobs of today are not as miserable as they used to be for a lot of people.”

An average retirement rate is defined by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College as an age at which the labor force participation rate drops below 50%. In 2013, they found that the average retirement age for women was 64 and 62 for men.

Although the number of older adults working today is greater than ever before, Boomers are not the largest generation to constitute the labor force. According to another analysis by the Pew Research Center, Boomers hold the third position in the labor force with 25%, followed by Gen Xers in second place with 33% and Millennials in first with 35%.

Millennials have held that position for almost four years, 2016 being the first year they outnumbered the Gen Xers.

“The generosity of monthly Social Security benefits increases with each year claiming is postponed,” The Pew Research Center said about the personal and economic benefits to retiring later in life.  “Economic growth in part depends on labor force growth, and the Boomers staying in the work force bolsters (it).”

Marisol Chávez may be reached at [email protected]