HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - Did you catch the flip? Is another one on the horizon? Yes, we are talking about the Alpha and the Omega of the American Workforce. The phrase was coined back in October of 2001 by Renée Ward, Founder, Social Impact Investor, and Head Volunteer of first to market public service sites Teens4Hire.org and Seniors4Hire.org.
Ms. Ward euphemistically refers to folks seeking their first job as Alphas, and others pursuing perhaps their last job as Omegas. And it appears that the labor force participation rate of these to cohorts are heading towards a crossroad again.
The last time we saw this was the summer of 2009 when the labor force participation rate (LFPR) of those 55 and older rose above teens. Why? Let’s recall what was happening in the USA in the summer months of 2009 at the crossroad.
America was in the grips of the tail-end of the Great Recession (2007 to 2009). The unemployment rate would eventually reach close to 10%. The recession required massive government stimulus to turn the economy around, including a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, along with insurance and automobile companies, and another government stimulus package worth more than $800 billion.
Older workers that could, held onto their jobs. Teens faced a labor market weakened by this recession, a diminishing number of federally funded summer jobs, and competition from recent immigrants and older workers for entry-level job openings. It was a time when 4 out of 5 teens who wanted to work could not land a job.
Today, another “flip” appears on the horizon.
Older workers who lost or left jobs during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 are slow to return to the workforce while teen participation is on the rise.
Will 2024 be the year?
Seniors4Hire.org is an online community for those that want to recruit folks 50 and older.
Teens4Hire.org is an online fiscally sponsored project of Empowerment Works, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Please DONATE as all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
/Graph credit: fred.stlouisfed.org/