In 2030, there will be 169.6 million people in the labor force (the labor force consists of all people age 16 and older who are either employed or unemployed). This is an 8.9 million rise from the 2020 level of 160.7 million.
The fact that the population is getting older is hardly fresh news. All baby boomers will reach retirement age by 2030. And it is estimated that 9.5 percent of the civilian labor force will be over 65.
This brings us to a slower labor force growth rate and the overall decline in the labor force participation rate (the percentage of the population that is either employed or actively seeking employment).
A closer look at the BLS projection will surely give us a better idea of individual age groups and their share in the US workforce by 2030.
The labor force participation rate for the 16-24-year-old age group was 65.8 percent in 2000 and 53.9 percent in 2020. There’s no other estimation for the figure than to further decline by 4.3 percent over the next decade.
The rate for those aged 25 to 54 is anticipated to remain stable — at 81.4 percent. Meanwhile, those aged 54 to 74 will see a slight decrease in their labor force participation rate (from 39.2 in 2020 to 38.6 in 2030).
The labor force participation rate for people age 75 and older continue rising
In fact, the only group whose labor force participation rate has had a rising trend includes people age 75 and older — from 8.9 percent in 2020 to estimated 11.7 percent by 2030.
It doesn’t come as a surprise if we take into account a staggering 96.5-percent increase in the labor force among those 75 and older projected over the next decade.
There are certainly challenges posed by the aging workforce. For instance, many businesses have to think now how to address the skills gaps that baby boomers will leave when they retire.
On the other hand, as former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman put it, living and working longer opens a new opportunity for us. Instead of pushing all those extra years of life and work into the “existing social norms and cultural practices”, we should certainly rethink them.
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