Old vs Young: The Story Of America's Two Labor Markets

When it comes to the US labor force, while the schism between full- and part-time workers has finally made the mainstream and will be even more acute in 2015 when the full impact of Obamacare forces most small and medium business to reallign their workforce, another even more important shift is taking place in the US: young (those workers in their prime age, under 54) versus older workers (those 55 and over). It is a shift which is critical as it confirms that the labor participation rate collapse is not due to demographics but due to secular economic reasons, as the chart below, which breaks down the sliding participation rate for workers 25-54 vs the steady participation rate for older workers, shows:

 

So how does total employment look when broken down by agegroup? Well as the chart below shows, a recurring one we show every month, workers 55 and under still have about 2 more million jobs to go before they recover all the jobs losses since the start of the great global depression, so far masked with $11 trillion in central bank liquidity.

 

Which of course is great news... for America's increasingly aging work force: the number of workers 55 and over just hit 32.9 million, up 1.3 million from a year ago, and an all time high.

 

For those who happen to be young and, inexplicably, also want a job, we have good news too: