Millennial Labor Participation Rate Surpasses Generation X: Pew Research
Millennials, an American demographic comprising of 18-to-34-year-olds, have become the largest generation share of the U.S. workforce.
Based on U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the Pew Research Center, senior researcher Richard Fry said the millennial demographic surpassed Generation X -- currently categorized as people between the ages of 35 and 50 -- during the first quarter this year. Fry noted the millennial workforce consists of 53.5 million people, and the figure is still rising.
In 2014, millennials surpassed the Baby Boomer generation, which has been on the decline since many have entered retirement. Baby Boomers are individuals ages 51 through 69.
"In the first quarter of 2015, about 45 million Baby Boomers were in the labor force," wrote Fry in the Pew Research Center report. "The Baby Boom workforce peaked in size at nearly 66 million in 1997. The youngest Boomer is now 51 years old, while the oldest Boomers are approaching age 70. With more Boomers retiring every year and not much immigration to affect their size, the size of the Boomer workforce will continue to shrink.
A factor to the growing millennial workforce is immigration.
"First, immigration to the U.S. will continue to disproportionately enlarge the ranks of the millennial labor force," Fry added. "Immigrants coming to the U.S. are disproportionately in their young working years. Relatively speaking, few immigrants come to the U.S. during childhood or during older adulthood. In the past five years, over half of newly arrived immigrant workers have been millennials."
A second factor for the millennial workforce growth is the role of education institutions. Most millennials are receiving an education between 18 and 24 years old, there after, millennials start their job search.
"As the youngest millennials get older, more of them will be looking for or getting jobs," Fry wrote. "Just how many more is tough to know, but the behavior of the Gen X population provides some clues.
He later noted, "In 1998, Gen Xers were roughly the same ages (18 to 33) as today's Millennials, and that year, only 80 percent of the Gen X population was in the labor force. So we can assume that the millennial labor force still has some room for growth in the years to come."
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