Baby Boomers leaving the work force at a record pace.
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Anne and I will be driving to the East Coast for Thanksgiving.
We will have the traditional dinner with a group of our family. It will be a pot-luck affair. I’m making the corn bread stuffing.
I love the traditional fixings. I love it enough that we planned to make the same basic menu this coming week as a trial run.
It is just the two of us so a whole turkey isn’t necessary. I asked our butcher for a small turkey breast.
“Nope,” he said. “Supply chain.”
I am almost certain that prior to 2021 I never used or heard the term, supply chain. Not coming from my butcher, that’s for sure.
The other frequent 2021 pandemic-induced phrase is labor shortage.
A labor shortage is kind of a supply chain of workers.
The conventional wisdom is that millions of American workers have left or were let go and are not returning to their old jobs.
Many of them by choice.
It is a mish-mosh of contradictory stories. On the one hand, 500,000 entered the work force last month.
On the other hand, employers complain they can’t fill open positions, particularly in the restaurant and service sectors.
Another aspect of the pandemic employment picture is the increase in Baby Boomer retirements.
I am part of the Baby Boomer demographic.
Baby Boomers are those us born between 1946 and 1964.
A 2019 Pew Research study reported that record number of Baby Boomers were remaining in the work force past the normal 65-year old retirement age.
The relatively high labor force participation of Boomers may be beneficial both to them and the wider economy. Some retirement experts emphasize working longer as the key to a secure retirement, in part because the generosity of monthly Social Security benefits increases with each year claiming is postponed. For the economy as a whole, economic growth in part depends on labor force growth, and the Boomers staying in the work force bolsters the latter.
It may be that the pandemic has reversed what we thought was going to be a trend in 2019.
A year later Baby Boomers are leaving the work force at a record pace.
Those retiring who are a part of my age group doubled between between 2019 and 2020 according to Pew.
At one time it made sense for older workers to remain in the work force for as long as possible. That was in part because Social Security benefits increase each year retirement is delayed
The pandemic has changed those calculations.
We older folks are at higher risk for Covid.
What ever societal and personal benefits there were to working as long as possible are counteracted by the threat of Covid.
This is why it is more important than ever for Biden’s Build Back Better bill to pass in Congress over Republican and conservative Democratic opposition.
I wanted more from the bill than what already has been lost to compromise.
I’m with Bernie Sanders on expansion of Medicare, coverage for vision and dental and lowering the eligibility age.
I agree with Bernie that dropping dental coverage is a missed opportunity.
So is the opportunity to get a grip on drug costs and the pressing need to expand rather than limit the ability of the government to negotiate drug prices.
I supported the stand of those progressive Democrats who wanted to link the first infrastructure bill to the second bill that deals with the social safety net and global climate changes.
Has that ship sailed for this year?
I don’t know.
But millions of new Baby Boomer retirees are going to be making demands.
We Baby Boomers came of age in the Sixties. We know how to make trouble when we have to.