The number of older Americans in the workforce is set to rise over the next eight years, according to data published in December 2013 by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. By 2022, 32% of US citizens aged 65 to 74 will still be in work, up from 26.8% in 2012.
Meanwhile, the overall participation rate of the civilian labour force – the total number of people in work or looking for work – is falling. This is because the labour participation rate of youth and “prime age” workers has been on the decline for the past decade. This trend looks set to continue: the share of 20 to 24-year-olds in work or seeking work is projected to drop from 70.9% in 2012, to 67.3% in 2022.
As the baby-boomer generation hits retirement, the number of younger workers replacing them is failing to keep pace, as more twenty-somethings delay entering the workplace to stay in education. This will be exacerbated in coming years by a marked slowdown in population growth, and declining rates of female workers.
The greying workforce has major implications for brands and businesses. As older consumers work longer, their spending power is also sustained for longer, creating new potential for brands. For more on this topic, see our report Longer Working Lives.