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Front Page » October 30, 2007 » Local News » Workforce services report highlights baby boomers' influe...
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Workforce services report highlights baby boomers' influence on economy

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Following World War II, the United States experienced an unusual spike in birth rates at locations throughout the nation.

The phenomenon commonly became known as the baby boom, pointed out Utah Department of Workforce Services economist in the state agency's latest Trendlines report.

The baby boom generation generally includes Americans born between 1946 and 1964.

Boomers presently make up about 20 percent of the entire United States population.

The baby boom generation's influence dominates not only the economic, but also the social and political landscape of the nation.

A significant part of the baby boom was an after-effect of World War II, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Bombed-out cities and fractured economies worldwide increased the need for goods and services in unprecedented amounts, noted the DWS economist.

Americans primarily found the U.S. standing alone in the ability and the desire to rebuild the nation.

Consequently, the United States switched from making wartime provisions to cranking out goods and materials for export and to respond to rising domestic consumer demand, pointed out Mark Knold.

The nation's production emphasis led to an unprecedented bubble of vigorous United States economic growth that did not diminish until the late 1960s, ecplained the department of workforce services economist.

Furthermore, the postwar G.I. Bill enabled a record number of America's military veterans to attend college and obtain advanced degrees, increasing the nation's knowledge, innovation and creativity.

The pursuit of the college and university degrees led to higher incomes for American families, allowing U.S. residents the financial resources to provide for more children.

Right from the beginning, the baby boomers swayed the United States economy, indicated the Utah Department of Workforce Services Trendline report.

The size of the population was so influential that the members changed the face of advertising, marketing and consumerism in the United States.

The members of the post-World War II generation accomplished the changes before the baby boomers ever earned their first dollar.

As the baby boomers became older and entered the labor force, the United States economy was forced to swell like never before to accommodate the new wave of workers, noted Knold.

And it was not only the size of the baby-boom labor pool the American economy had to accommodate, but also the increased female participation in the workforce.

Women baby boomers became much more active paid labor force participants than had any previous female generation, pointed out the department of workservices Trendlines report.

One of the largest and possibly most telling influences the boomers have had on the economy is what they did not do, indicated Knold. The boomers did not reproduce at the same rate as previous generations.

Boomers have not produced enough children to sufficiently allow the economy to remain stretched, explained Knold. The void has not become pronounced yet, as boomers are still active in the labor force.

"But we are seeing the initial stages of tight labor availability across the nation. It is also being manifested with a growing level of in-migration trying to fill this void and predicted shortfalls to hit the Social Security system," commented Knold. "Many boomers were big on advancing individual freedoms and choices. One area where that philosophy found an economic outlet was in women's choices and how they approached their status in the paid labor force."

Large numers of American women chose to work for wages like male counterparts. The situation, in turn, was one factor contributing to the delay in family formations and declining birth rates.

Boomers will continue to alter and shape the nation's economy. Having aged into their 40s, 50s and 60s, boomers dominate the nation's wealth. They are in their peak earning years and their life-cycle has matured to where their spending patterns will change. Consumerism will undergo another transition.

"Ahead lie developing retirement industries and expanding social needs challenged by possible labor market shocks as boomers leave the labor force en masse. It is yet to be seen how that economically plays out. But one thing is for sure - even to the end, the boomers will be influencing the United States economy," concluded Knold.

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