Number of jobs held and job duration for baby boomers, 1978–2010
July 31, 2012
The average person born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held 11.3 jobs from age 18 to age 46. Nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24.
These baby boomers held an average of 5.5 jobs while ages 18 to 24. The average fell to 3 jobs from ages 25 to 29, to 2.4 jobs from ages 30 to 34, and to 2.1 jobs from ages 35 to 39 and also from ages 40 to 46.
On average, men held 11.5 jobs, and women held 11.1 jobs from age 18 to age 46. Men held 5.7 jobs from age 18 to age 24, compared with 2.1 jobs from age 40 to age 46. The reduction in the average number of jobs held in successive ages was similar for women.
Although job duration tends to be longer the older a worker is when starting the job, these baby boomers continued to have large numbers of short-duration jobs even at middle age. Among jobs started by 40 to 46 year olds, 33 percent ended in less than a year, and 69 percent ended in less than 5 years.
Of the jobs that workers began when they were 18 to 24 years of age, 69 percent ended in less than a year and 93 percent ended in less than 5 years.
These data are from the National Longitudinal Surveys. To learn more, see "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-1489. A job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer. Jobs that span more than one age group were counted once in each age group, so the overall average number of jobs held from age 18 to age 46 is less than the sum of the number of jobs across the individual age groups.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Number of jobs held and job duration for baby boomers, 1978–2010 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120731.htm (visited November 30, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.
- A look at pay at the top, the bottom, and in between
The Spotlight examines how earnings and wages have changed over time and how they differ within a geographic area, industry, or occupation.