Every workforce development agency has one metric they follow closely: the average age of their local workforce. If a large percentage of a region’s workforce is 55 years old or older, then that region needs to invest in retraining workers with the skills of these aging workers and attracting new talent.
Currently, the national average of workers aged 55 or older is 17.2%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Population Reference Bureau, that number is projected to increase to 23% by 2030. However, some major cities are already at this projection.
Top 10 U.S. Cities with Highest Percentage of Aging Workers still in the Labor Market
Burning Glass’ labor analysis tool, Labor Insight™, has always been able to provide workforce professionals with the most up-to-date information on the most in demand jobs by region, the most requested skills by occupation, and more. Our newest update to Labor Insight provides demographic data such as age, gender, race, and more so that workforce professionals can quickly analyze the make-up of their region to make better informed decisions.
Based on analysis using Labor Insight from Burning Glass Technologies, the top 10 cities with the highest percentage of aging workers are:
|Metro Area||Percent of Workforce Over 55||Percent of Workforce over 65|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||29.00%||8.90%|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||26.10%||8.40%|
|Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL||25.80%||6.50%|
|Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL||25.60%||6.30%|
|New Haven, CT||24.40%||6.10%|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||23.70%||5.70%|
*Note: Among the top-100 metros
What Factors Contribute to an Aging Workforce?
An aging workforce can be caused by many different factors. For instance, North Port, the metro area with the highest level of aging workers, is located in Florida which is commonly known as a retirement state. Therefore, there are many aging workers getting ready to retire. On the other hand, there are metro areas like Pittsburgh, PA that also have a high percentage of aging workers, but for a very different reason. Pittsburgh has a large portion of baby boomers that grew up working during the steel and manufacturing era. However, Pittsburgh’s workforce has shifted from steel and manufacturing to “ed, meds, and technology” and needs to transform its workforce to match the newly requested skills.
How to Respond to an Aging Workforce
There any many strategies your community can take to build a competitive workforce for the future. For instance, after analyzing Burning Glass labor market data, the Pittsburgh region discovered they had over 300,000 workers that would be retiring in the next ten years. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a non-profit economic development organization, immediately began working with the community to maintain their successful, growing economy. Allegheny Conference is working with K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions to help better align their programs and courses with workforce demand. They are also working to attract and develop talent to grow Pittsburgh’s economy.
To learn more strategies, read the full case study.
How to Prevent Job Gaps Due to An Aging Workforce
One of the most effective ways workforce agencies can respond to this problem is to use real-time labor market data to identify which industries will need the most help in the coming years.
For example, let’s look at Hartford, CT’s current workforce. Looking at the below table you can see, at a glance, that the two industries with the largest percentages of aging workers (55+) are in Health Care and Social Assistance, and Educational Services.
With this information, Hartford officials can work with local employers and colleges to begin teaching students the most requested skills in health care and education, since there will be a definite demand for these workers in the near future. And developing these kinds of programs can keep employers in the city, instead of allowing them to be tempted to move to another location where workers are easier to find.
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