Enough younger workers?

We’ve written a few posts this week about the plight of older workers during the Great Recession.


It’s been a tough few years, including a doubling of the number of unemployed age 55 and older.

But here’s the larger reason we should be paying a lot more interest: We’re going to see a lot more of them (us?).

Minnesota’s on the path now to an aging, slow-growth workforce. The table below shows what’s happened since 2000. Workers 55 and older have grown from about 12 percent of the workforce to nearly 19 percent.


Those trends are going to continue. The state is on the cusp of a huge jump in its 65-and-older population.


We’re likely to see more older Minnesotans working longer. That’s not a bad thing.

The bigger worry, though, is how many younger workers will be there in the future?


Put another way, will there be enough younger workers in the future to build the state’s economy, maintain our quality of life and pay for the needs of a swelling retiree population?

It’s not a crisis now but shouldn’t we be talking about it?


Thanks to DEED’s Rachel Vilsack, who sent us the updated data on the age range of workers in Minnesota. She wrote a detailed piece on older workers back in April 2009.

  • Zebulun

    What is the relevant discussion to have when so many of the headlines contradict one another? It’s a case of dueling “crises.”

    For example, high unemployment means that there are too few jobs for the number of people looking, educated or otherwise. A reduction in the size of the workforce, brought on by the retirement of older employees, would open up more jobs for young people. And frankly, these young workers wouldn’t expect the same high-level salaries paid to older workers.