If you’re in your early 20s and are constantly jumping around to find your own path, don’t worry—older generations do it too. A comprehensive new report, the most comprehensive of its kind, sheds light on the economic habits of “young” baby boomers — those born between 1957 and 1964.
Conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report was originally conducted in 1979 with 9,964 young respondents between the ages of 14 and 22. It then revisited those questions in 2020-2021.
The findings show that young baby boomers are fairly satisfied with job changes, especially early in their careers. Additionally, the report identifies the age at which these individuals reach their peak earning potential.
Young baby boomers, ages 18 to 24, are seeing the fastest inflation-adjusted wage growth, with hourly wages rising an average of 6.5 percent a year, the data showed.
After that, income growth slowed: 3.3 percent per year for ages 25 to 34, and 1.8 percent per year for ages 25 to 44. From age 45 onwards, income growth flattens out.
That could be bad news for millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), the oldest of whom are approaching their 45th birthdays.
The report also found that hourly wages were generally higher among people with higher levels of education.
For example, between the ages of 18 and 24, hourly wages for those with less than a high school education rose 2.3 percent, while hourly wages for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher rose 9.3 percent annually.
Between ages 45 and 56, those without a high school diploma actually experienced a negative 0.8 percent increase in income, while those with a degree saw a 0.6 percent increase.
However, the bureau added: “This pattern of income growth reflects in part the state of the U.S. economy in that year for survey participants across all age groups.”
You could be fooled into thinking job hopping is post-pandemic behavior, fueled by restless Generation Z during the Covid-19 lockdown. Think again.
The report found that the cohort between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 12.7 jobs from the age of 18, nearly half of which were held before the age of 25.
On average, men change jobs more than women (12.8 vs. 12.5, respectively), and whites, on average, have more jobs early in their careers than blacks, Hispanics, or Latinos, although with age This gap gradually narrowed.
A large proportion of this group also reported healthy restrictions on their work – both in terms of type of work and hours – especially in the final years of life.
For example, almost one-third of blacks said that when they turned 56, the jobs they could do were limited due to health reasons. That compares with 20 percent for white respondents and 23 percent for Hispanic and Latino respondents.
This factor also showed a significant correlation with the level of education of the respondents.
Among those over the age of 24, those with less education were more likely to say their work was restricted due to health conditions.
By their 56th birthday, 46 percent of high school dropouts and 25 percent of high school graduates who never went to college said their careers were healthily limited.