Saturday, July 28, 2012

Job Hopping among Boomers

Question: How many jobs have baby boomers had in their lifetime?
Answer: 11.3

We know this thanks to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a representative survey of people born from 1957 through 1964--or younger boomers. These boomers were first interviewed when they ranged in age from 14 to 22, then reinterviewed every year or two through 2010-11 when they were aged 45 to 53. As far as surveys go, it doesn't get much better.

Not surprisingly, this cohort held the largest number of jobs when they first entered the labor force--5.5 jobs between the ages of 18 and 24, on average. They held 3.0 jobs between the ages of 25 and 29, 2.4 jobs between the ages of 30 and 34, 2.1 jobs from ages 35 to 39, and another 2.1 jobs between the ages of 40 and 46.

If this sounds like a lot of job hopping, you're right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics remarks about the frequency of job change: "Although job duration tends to be longer the older a worker is when starting the job, these baby boomers continued to have large numbers of short-duration jobs even at middle age. Among jobs started by 40-to-46-year-olds, 33 percent ended in less than a year, and 69 percent ended in less than 5 years."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey

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