Late Baby Boomers Have Held Nearly 12 Jobs on Average

Individuals born in the latter years of the baby boom held 11.9 jobs from ages 18 to 50, a new report from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24, the overall number is still telling: we’re no longer a “one job for life” society, and haven’t been for a long time.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 49 to 58 when interviewed most recently in 2014-15.

The respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the latter years of the baby boom that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964.

Switching Jobs

Although job duration tended to be longer the older a worker was when starting the job, these baby boomers continued to have large numbers of short-duration jobs.

Among jobs started by 35 to 44 year olds, 36 percent ended in less than a year, and 75 percent ended in fewer than five years.

On average, individuals were employed 78 percent of the weeks from age 18 to age 50. Generally, men spent a larger percent of weeks employed than did women (84 percent versus 71 percent).

Women spent much more time out of the labor force (25 percent of weeks) than did men (11 percent of weeks).

The average annual percent growth in inflation-adjusted hourly earnings was highest during a worker’s late teens and early twenties. Earnings growth rates were generally higher for college graduates than for workers with less education.

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