Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Big Lie: Workforce Contractions Are Due To Baby Boomers Retiring.

It seems like, every time there's another one of these head-scratching and really questionable employment reports -- where the only reason for the unemployment rate falling is a shrinking workforce -- a bunch of talking-heads crawl out of the woodwork to justify the declines on the basis of a well-worn lie that 10,000 "Baby Boomers" are retiring every day.

This time around, the "Baby Boomer" spin is in defense of the December report where only 74,000 jobs were created; yet, the unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percent to 6.7%.  A feat that could only have happened because, in addition to the 74,000 new jobs, 347,000 previously unemployed workers left the workforce; resulting in a net benefit of 421,000 jobs.  Which, by the way, is close to, but still well short of the 462,000, truly needed to lower the unemployment rate by three-tenths of a percent.

The 10,000 a day number is simply based on the fact that, during the Baby Boom years (1946-1964), a near average of 10,000 babies were born each day; starting with 7,700 babies being born per day in 1946 and rising to a high of 11,800 babies in 1961.  But, this number wrongly assumes that every "Baby Boomer" will live to retirement; or, that no "Boomer" will work beyond retirement; or, that, somehow, no one is standing in line to replace these retiring workers.

According to Life Expectancy Tables and Actuarial Life Tables, a person born in the Baby Boom years  had 29.5% probability of dying by age 65. Therefore, in reality, only about 7,000 workers a day are actually retiring; not 10,000. At the same time,  almost 11,000 youths per day, age 16 and older and born in the 1990's, should be entering the workforce.  This based on the fact that, since 1989, an average of more than 4 million babies per year were being born. What this means is that the workforce should be growing by a minimum 120,000 a month; not declining by 347,000 as in the December employment report.  On top of that, because this recovery has been the worst in history and because personal wealth (value of homes) has declined, many seniors are being forced to work well past retirement age.


December Employment Report:

Births Per Year:

United States Life Tables And Actuarial Life Tables: 1939-1941, 1946:

Actuarial Life Tables 2009:

Life Expectancy By Year:

January 2009 Employment Report:

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