Some Idaho Industries More Apt to Hire Older Workers

The aging workforce will have an overarching effect on the economy in the years to come, but older workers are feeling the impact now. With the effects of the last recession still lingering, knowing which industries are more apt to hire older workers is critical to today’s job seekers.

table 1

The U.S Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators combine employment and earnings data from state unemployment insurance tax files with demographic information. Looking at new hires for jobs lasting at least three months between the second quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, the administrative and support services industry hired the most workers between the ages of 55 and 64. This industry includes both call centers and temporary employment agencies, which have seen payrolls rise in the past few years in Idaho. Education was next, making up almost 8 percent of total hires followed by ambulatory health care. The health care subsectors were prominent throughout with new hires at hospitals earning the most at over $4,400 per month on average.

Table 2

For workers age 65 and older, the data showed some differences. While education and administrative and support services sectors ranked highest, agricultural industries made an appearance. Almost 10 percent of all new hires to stable employment who were 65 years old or older were in animal and crop production. While ambulatory health care appeared on the list, no other health care sectors surfaced. Wages were also notably lower, but that may be due to more part-time workers in this age group, and they were not separated out.

Table 3

The concentration of hires in each industry may point job seekers to areas that seek out more experienced workers. Transportation in Idaho had the largest percentage of new hires in the 55 to 64 age group with transit and ground transportation at the top. Two government sectors also ranked high. Heavy and civil engineering had 11.5 percent of new hires in this age bracket and also paid the highest average monthly wage at $6,400.

Table 4

In the oldest age bracket of 65 years and older, transportation again had a higher concentration of new hires, but agriculture, which was high in total new hires, also ranked near the top for this age group. Heavy and civil engineering was highest and paid on average $7,400 per month.

An aging workforce will impact many areas of the economy, but it is also a resource for companies that want to make use of these workers’ years of experience.

Andrew.Townsend@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 332-3570, ext. 3455