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Baby Boomers are wild card in unemployment numbers

Are they or aren’t they?

That’s a question economists are asking about Baby Boomers and their role in the nation’s employment picture.

Are they still in the job pool looking for employment, or are they getting out of the pool to retire and/or find other means of self-fulfillment?

There is a lot about the Baby Boomer after 50 that still needs to be defined and refined in the years ahead.

It’s been widely reported in the past that Baby Boomers represent a higher than normal average of the unemployed. But, as Baby Boomers get older and older, there’s a question whether those Boomers are in the job market at all as they consider their so-called “encore careers” of fulfilling their passions versus just earning a living.

A USA Today article today underscores the complexity of the situation.

The government’s most recent job report from December showed the jobless rate falling to 6.7 percent.But it also estimated that the labor force shrank by 347,000 jobs with the creation of only 74,000 new jobs.

How come?

According to USA Today’s take on the matter, “... Wall Street and Federal Reserve economists says the drop in workforce participation is about demographics, not the health of the economy. Mostly, it's about Baby Boomers.”

"Arithmetically, the Boomers will keep pushing (participation) down done for another 15 years," said Dean Maki, economist at investment bank Barclays told USA Today. He argues Boomers' retirements mean current job growth can reduce unemployment. "We should get used to it."

“Encore careers” is the new buzz phrase for Baby Boomers. As the generation looks ahead to its retirement years, Boomers look ahead to doing something that propels them forward emotionally, spiritually and, to a certain extent, financially.

A USA Today look at the subject is here.