Study: Boomers Hopped to Lots of Jobs

September 9, 2002 ( - Younger Baby Boomers have been real job hoppers - bounding almost 10 times from job to job between age 18 and 36, a survey found.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the boomers held more than two-thirds of the jobs between their 18th and 27th birthdays. The respondents were born between 1957 and 1964.

The survey found that the boomers worked at 9.6 jobs from ages 18 to 36 and:

  • had 4.4 jobs while age 18 to 22
  • ages 23 to 27 worked an average 3.2 positions
  • ages 28 to 32 were employed by 2.6 companies
  • ages 33 to 36 had two employers.

The average number of jobs held from age 18 to age 36 is less than the sum of the number of jobs across the individual age groups, because jobs that spanned more than one age group were counted once in each group.

The average person was employed during nearly 76% of the weeks occurring from age 18 to age 36, according to the survey.

Generally, men spent a larger percent of weeks employed than women (83% versus 68%). Women spent much more time out of the labor force (27% of weeks) than did men (11% of weeks).

The annual percent growth in inflation-adjusted hourly earnings was fastest from ages 18 to 22.  Growth rates in earnings generally were higher for those who obtained more education, the survey found.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 young men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 35 to 43 when interviewed most recently in 2000.