Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pa Workforce Continues to Age

Pennsylvania's workforce continues to get older, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2004, 3.6 percent of Pennsylvania's workforce was aged 65 or older. In 1998, that figure was 3.0 percent.

The numbers mirror a national trend. The Census Bureau estimates that the over-65 population will grow from 1 in 8 today to 1 in 5 by 2030. Pennsylvania already has the third-highest percentage of over-65 residents in the country, according to the state's Department of Labor and Industry. Spokesman Troy Thompson says the Labor and Aging departments have collaborated for years to offer training for older workers who want to keep their skills current or switch careers. He says older workers are an asset because of their experience and work ethic.

But a large number of older workers could also pose challenges for companies that are seeing an increasing number of retirements. The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board studied the issue in 2006. Among its findings: some industries, like mining, utilities and transporation, are aging faster than others.

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