According to newly published survey information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Americans born in the years 1957 to 1964 held an average of 12.3 jobs from age 18 to their 52.
Lest you think that the latter part of the Baby Boom generation is composed of a bunch of job hoppers, BLS says that almost half of those 12.3 jobs were worked from age 18 to 24, meaning that from ages 25 to 52, the average person switched employers 6.6 times, or about once every four years.
While the average tenure with an employer was four years, a large number of baby boomers are working fairly short-term jobs, with 36% of jobs held by this cohort when they were 35 to 44 years old ending in less than a year, and 75% ending in less than five years.
The findings were developed from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 which tracked almost 10,000 people who were 14 to 22 back in 1979, and then followed up through 2017 with questions about work, education, training, income, health, and other factors.
Men spent more time employed—working 84% of the time vs. 72% for women. Furthermore, the data shows that men spent 11% of the time tracked out of the labor force entirely compared to 24% for women.
During young workers’ formative years, ages 18 to 24, white, non-Hispanic people held an average of 5.9 jobs compared to 4.8 for blacks, and 5.1 for Hispanics. The gap in employment churn disappears with age, as time with a particular employer increases for all groups.
As people become more educated, they work more, with those having a bachelor’s degree or higher working 84% of weeks surveyed, while spending 13% out of the labor force (neither working nor looking for work). That’s compared to 76% of weeks working for those with a high school diploma, while spending 18% of the time out of the labor force. People with less than a high school diploma only spent 59% of the weeks employed and 33% of the time disconnected from the labor force. And across racial and ethnic groups, there was little difference in time employed for those who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Full study results can be found at: www.bls.gov/nls/y79supp.htm.