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02
May 2015

Millennials are now the largest generation

This year, millennials will surpass Gen Xer’s as the largest living generation in U.S. labor force

More than 33% of American workers today are Millennials (adults aged between 18 and 34), and in 2015 they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to new report by Pew Research Center in their analysis of U.S. Census data.

  • This shift occurred in the first quarter of 2015, as the 54 million-strong Millennial workforce has risen rapidly.
  • The Millennial labor force had last year surpassed that of the Baby Boomer generation, which has declined as Boomers continue to retire.
  • With its large share of immigrants, and at an age of transition from college to the corporate working world, the Millennial generation’s workforce is likely to grow even further in future years.
  • The Millennial population as a whole (not just its workforce) is already projected to surpass that of Baby Boomers this year as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

millennials labor force

Gen X ::

For Generation X (adults aged between 35 to 50 in 2015), their place as the dominant generation within the American labor force was very short-lived – just three years. On a chart they might easily get missed, as they are sandwiched in between Baby Boomers and the Millennials. In 2012, the Gen X labor force (aprox. 52.9 million) overtook the Baby Boom labor force to become the largest generation in the workforce, but that likely ended this year.

Boomers ::

In the first quarter of 2015, about 45 million Baby Boomers were in the American labor force. The Baby Boom workforce peaked in size at nearly 66 million in 1997. The youngest Boomer is now 51 years old, while the oldest Boomers are approaching age 70. With more Boomers retiring every year and not much immigration to affect their numbers, the size of the Boomer workforce will continue to shrink.

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