The Upside-Down Job Market

Sue Shellenbarger
The Juggle on choices and tradeoffs people make as they juggle work and family
The Wall Street Journal

The biggest changes in family life sometimes happen gradually. New employment data suggest one such seismic change is upon us: Job-holding patterns between the generations have turned upside down.

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. Based on new research by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, Boston, 34% of senior men ages 60 to 69 hold paying jobs, compared with fewer than 15% of teenage males age 16 and 17. In the year 2000, the comparable employment numbers were 29% for senior men, and 34% for boys in their mid-teens.

While the picture is similar for females, adolescent girls are employed at a higher rate, of 16.9%, compared with 25.3% for women in their late 60s, says Andrew Sum, an economics professor at Northeastern and director of the center…

The article continues at The Wall Street Journal.

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