Good news for workers over 50: Demographics are in your favor

Despite the fact that the unemployment/underemployment rate is approaching 1 in 5 people, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2008- 2018 has some good news for the mature worker: demographics.

As reported in a previous article on Why older workers will get hired: 5 tips, there will be many more jobs for those over 55 who wish to continue working. Despite the softer reasons why older workers are an excellent resource (strong work ethic, experienced problem solvers, understand customers, etc.) there is another reason for optimism: the number of workers entering the work force during the period will be significantly less.

This is due to declining birth rates coupled with an increasing demand for workers, primarily information workers. 24% of the workforce by 2018 will be over 55, as compared to 18% in 2008
Here are some of the details from the report:

Total employment is projected to increase by 15.3 million, or 10.1 percent, during the 2008-18 period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The projections show an aging and more racially and ethnically diverse labor force, and employment growth in service-providing industries. More than half of the new jobs will be in professional and related occupations and service occupations.

In addition, occupations where a post-secondary degree or award is usually required are expected to account for one-third of total job openings during the projection period. Job openings from replacement needs–those which occur when workers who retire or otherwise leave their occupations need to be replaced–are projected to be more than double the number of openings due to economic growth.

The projected growth for the 2008-18 period is larger than the increase of 10.4 million over the 1998-2008 period, or 7.4 percent. The relatively slow growth rate for the earlier 10-year period was affected by the recession which began in December 2007, and the projected growth rate is higher than would otherwise
be expected because the 2008 starting point is a recession year.

In addition to this, there are positive indicators that overall hiring is beginning to pick up, starting with factory jobs, as reported in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. There are anecdotal signs that small business is beginning to hire as well.

Even though it may not appear that the jobs are available for older workers, be patient – the jobs are on their way.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile
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