CBO Swings, Misses on Demographics

I perked up when I got one of my daily WSJ alerts yesterday, as the headline really caught my eye:  Baby Boomers and the Labor Force.  Finally, the demographic theme that I’d written about here, here, here and here — beginning well over one year ago — was going to get some attention.

Except not so much.

The Journal reports — as TBP readers knew long ago — that, “The recession has taken a toll on participation rates for nearly every group, with one exception — older workers. More people 55 and over are staying in the labor force, and the participation rates for older workers are the only ones that rose in recent years.”  A few of my graphs made that abundantly clear, especially the first one at this post.

But while the CBO provides a laundry list of reasons for Boomers lingering in the workforce — see the Journal’s excerpt — I believe they totally whiffed on identifying the most important one (emphasis mine):

About 65 percent of baby boomers age 60 and older believe that they can’t afford retirement, according to a new survey by CareerBuilder.com, the online job advertising site. That’s down from 72 percent who said the same thing last year — an improvement, but still a big number.

It is disappointing that the CBO chose to ignore the devastating and ongoing consequences of the recession (decimated investment and real estate portfolios) and focus instead on “improved health” and “fewer jobs requiring physical strength,” among other things.  It serves as yet another stark reminder to me (as if I needed more) of what a tremendous disconnect there is between Main St. and Washington.

(At some point I will update the graphs in the related posts.)

Adding: Now this WSJ posting hits the nail much more squarely on the head:

Older Workers More Likely to Be Employed Than Teens

In the past, Grandma and Grandpa tended to retire to a life of leisure in their sixties, while teenagers were expected to work. As recently as 2000, boys ages 16 and 17 were far more likely to hold paying jobs than their grandparents ages 65 to 69.

But just a decade later, that picture has turned upside down: Grandpa is twice as likely to be working as Junior.

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