Nearly two years ago, and progressing to this day, we first observed (and subsequently even the mainstream media caught on) that America's labor force is slowly but surely converting itself from a full-time to part-time worker society. The reasons for this are obvious: to corporations, the benefits associated with employing part-time workers are countless: avoiding substantial benefits-related costs, evading long-term job contracts, hourly basis wages, and many others. In fact, as long as there is slack in the economy, and there will be for a long, long time as the shift in labor demand is now secular, regardless of what the Fed wants to admit, employers will have ever more leverage, while workers have less and less (and are forced to agree to any employment terms, as long as they get some paycheck at all). This much has been known. What has gotten far less prominence is that of the much trumpeted 4+ million jobs added since the trough in late 2009, virtually all the job additions have gone to (part-time) workers 55 years and over. Indeed, as the chart below shows, starting since the official NBER end of the recession in June 2009, the US has cumulatively added 2.9 million jobs. However, when broken down by age cohort, 3.5 million of these jobs have gone to US workers aged between 55 and 69. Another 729K have gone to recent college grads aged 20-24. What about those workers in their prime years: between 25 and 54 years of age? They have lost a total of 886,000 jobs since June 30, 2009!
In other words, the US jobs "recovery" has been one that while "benefiting" part-time workers, and those who ordinarily would be exiting the labor force to focus on retirement (and can't as they suddenly realize their savings under ZIRP are worthless while their fixed income portfolios return virtually nothing), has crushed American workers in their key work years, whose jobs instead have been taken by "veteran" workers who increasingly refuse to leave the workforce.
The chart below shows the cumulative jobs gains for those aged 20-24 (red) and 55-69 (gray). The ones below the X-axis, the cumulative job losses, are for those aged 16-19 (green) and 25-54 (blue).
The same chart but going back three years since September 2009, or right around the time the job loss process troughed and since which point the BLS has reported a continuous monthly addition of jobs. Of the 4.2 million jobs added since September 2009, 3.5 million have gone to "experienced" workers aged 55 and over!
So the next time a potential employer denies your job application because the job was just taken, speak to mom and dad: more than likely they applied for the same job, and got it.