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COMPANY CULTURE / MAY. 21, 2015
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U.S. Millennials Now Largest Generation in the Workforce

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Millennials have now taken over the United States workforce, says the Pew Research Center (PRC) in a new report. It wasn’t predicted for another couple of years, but it’s now official that millennials are more ubiquitous in the workforce than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers. Millennials unite!

See AlsoU.S. Millennial Birth Rate May Create Economic and Societal Shift

What the Pew Data Says

The Pew Research Center has released incredible data over the past several years highlighting the growing shift and dominance of millennials in the economy, society and labor force.

According to Pew data, every one in three U.S. workers is a millennial. The huge milestone took place in the first quarter of this year, and surpassed the Baby Boomers sometime last year. Since the year 2000, it has been a vast ascension for millennials in the American workforce, while it has been stagnant for Gen Xers. For Baby Boomers, meanwhile, it has been a tepid decline.

As of today, the workforce is ranked as the following:

  • Millennials (1980 to 2000): 53.5 million 
  • Generation Xers (1965 to 1979): 52.7 million
  • Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964): 44.6 million
  • Silents (1925 to 1945): 3.7 million

Millennials are now the largest living, consuming and working generation in the U.S. But don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon, warns Pew. It suggests the trend will only continue to grow over the coming years because of the greater number of young immigrants arriving in the U.S. and college graduates entering the world of work.

"With its disproportionately large share of immigrants, and at an age of transition from college to the working world, the Millennial generation’s workforce is highly likely to grow even further in the near future," writes Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center.

Gen Xers May Make Gains in Labor Force

Pew does say, however, that it’s very possible the Gen X talent pool may grow because of immigration. Moreover, the labor force participation rate has fallen because of the financial crisis and the disappointing economic recovery. This means that if the labor market improves, then many Gen Xers could very well return to the labor market in vast numbers.

Don’t worry about Baby Boomers though, because the youngest Boomer is 51. This generation of workers will continue to retire and the number of Boomer immigrants won’t make much difference – most immigrants relocate in their youth. The Baby Boomer workforce will only persist in its shrinkage.

Future of Working Millennials

Overall, if you were concerned that a robot was going to take your job, then don’t stress yourself out. It’s a millennial that will take you out back. To many critics of the latte-sipping, meme-loving and selfie-addicted generation, this is a troubling premise. Nevertheless, millennials will soon be the leaders of tomorrow, for better or for worse.

Philip Bump of The Washington Post opined that millennials will soon have to concern themselves about the next generation (Generation Y?).

"In a few decades, we’ll see stories about how the next generation, the kids being born now and who have no generational name yet, are taking all of the jobs. Because generations die out and are replaced. C’est la vie, quite literally.

"Unless, of course, Generation No-Name is replaced by robots. Which is possible. That’s what all the millennials are trying to invent."

See Also8 Ways to Make Your Office Appeal to Millennial Workers

For whatever reason, millennials are the most researched and written about generation today. All of us, including millennials themselves, are both perplexed and intrigued by this age demographic. Perhaps it’s because they wear neon-colored skinny pants and bury their heads into their phones in public. Who knows? 

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