What social trends told us about the U.S. economy in 2021

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It may also be the year when “Alright, baby boomers“Gave the floor to” Are you okay, Boomer? “

A recent Federal Reserve Inquiry into Business Contacts found that many “noted that baby boomers were quitting their jobs and selling businesses to retire earlier – a trend that was due (1957 marked the peak year for births among baby boomers; these babies will be 65 next year) but has accelerated due to pandemic exhaustion. “

It shows up in the data. People over 45 were slower return to the job market since the start of the pandemic. This group includes Gen Xers, aged 41 to 56, and Baby Boomers, aged approximately 57 to 75. It is not clear whether the apparent rush to early retirement will persist: people may return once the health pandemic fear is behind us, or if stocks come back to less. dynamic valuations, reducing the value of retirement portfolios.

What happens next with the middle-aged and older workforce will be critical to the future of the labor market. If older workers stay out, the participation rate of the U.S. workforce – and the pool of workers available to employers – could remain depressed from pre-pandemic levels. This will be bad news for employers, who are increasingly desperate to hire.

Don’t shed all your tears for the baby boomers because millennials also had a tough time in 2021. They’ve split the year between reminding the internet that they are graying, keeping the Botox shops in business and feeling appalled at Gen Z, their successors, accusing them of being old. A generation that made the ill-informed decision to recycle the low-rise trend also had the nerve to claim that the side parts give the impression that people aged and skinny jeans are out.

Whether their elders are ready or not, the reality is that Gen Z, the group born from 1997 to 2012, began to enter adulthood and into the workforce in force during the pandemic. He is a relatively small generation, but its members could shake things up. They are completely digital natives and have different attitudes towards and expectations of, the professional life of those of their older counterparts.

If office workers ever meet their new colleagues, things could get interesting.

Speaking of office, this year put the initials “RTO. “firmly in the professional lexicon. The planning for the return to the office was repeatedly upset by waves of infection, but that did not stop the cries of outrage. Many professionals began to question the usefulness of high heels and pants – known derisively as “hard pants”- as opposed to their much more popular and more user-friendly alternative of“ soft pants ”.

Whether the future of workwear will involve more elastic belts remains an open question, but it’s increasingly clear that America is unlikely to revert to many of its old work habits. . Surveys of workers suggest that many did not miss the office, and employers are increasingly turning to hybrid work models and location flexibility, in part to avoid fueling new resignations.

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