Baby Boomers are staying in the workforce at unprecedented rates

Everybody knows that Baby Boomers are working longer, but according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of official labor force data, the oldest Boomers are still working at the highest rate for people their age in over fifty years.

In 2018, 29% of Boomers ages 65 to 72 were working or looking for work. That outperforms what previous generations were doing at their age, with the labor market participation of the Silent Generation at 21% and the Greatest Generation at 19%.

Female Boomers have been more likely to be working throughout their adult lives than earlier generations of women, and 25% of women ages 65-72 were working in 2018. In the same year, 34% of male Boomers ages 65-72 were participating in the labor force – something men of this age have not done at this rate since the 70s.

As for younger Boomers, 66% of adults between 55 to 64 were in the workforce in 2018, surpassing the Silent and Greatest generations when they were the same age.

Today, Boomers expect that they will be able to work – and retire – past age 65.

That may be why Boomers are not exiting the labor force in droves. Between 2011 and 2029, about 3.8 million Boomers will turn 65 – that’s about 10,000 people daily. However, the labor force is not losing that many people every day – since 2010, it’s lost a much smaller than expected amount of Boomers, about 5,900 daily.

The Baby Boomers who were still in the labor force last year are different than those who have retired. About 38% of Boomers still working had at least a Bachelor’s degree. Demographically, they were also slightly more likely to live in a metropolitan area and to be non-Hispanic white.

Pew says the high rate of Boomer labor participation may be good for them – many of whom are trying to gin up funds for retirement – and the economy at large.