The American Workforce: How It Has Changed

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The American Workforce: How It Has Changed
Kathy Reed
SOC304: Social Gerontology
Professor Marie Mika
August 1, 2011

The American Workforce: How It Has Changed
The workforce has always been the backbone of America, ever since the beginning of time to the modern world of today. It begin with the men of the family going out and working, while the women stayed at home and took care of the children and the home. The workforce for men and women has changed because of the consequences of age, gender, immigration, politics, education and the economy. Even though the workforce has been affected by these consequences, the question is now, what can be done to make sure it is sustainable for the future. The following will cover the consequences of change, healthcare cost, and housing needs, social security, and programs for the aging.

First, the consequences, such as age, gender, immigration, politics, education and the economy has made the percentage of the workforce change drastically. Lee, M.A., Mather,M., (2008) states that:

“the historical growth of the U.S. labor force in the four decades is linked to two main factors: growth in population size and increases in women’s labor force participation rates. In the 1960s, the U.S. labor force increased by 1.7 percent annually as baby boomers those born during the high-fertility period from 1946-1964 started to enter the workforce. Labor force growth accelerated during the 1970s as more baby boomers reached adulthood. At the same time, women started to enter the labor force in greater numbers. As a result of both of these trends, the labor force grew at a fast pace of 26 percent each year.” There are several people of the baby boomer era, including myself, that have changed jobs more once throughout our life growing and preparing for a comfortable life for our family and the future, there are some that have retired, became disabled or suffered the loss of a loved one, but with the workforce changes, some of us have suffered more than one type of loss.

According to, Dennis Cauchon: only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record. The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation’s social programs. For example, job troubles appear to have slowed a trend of people working later in life, putting more pressure on Social Security says Marc Goldwein. Another change: the bulk of those not working have shifted from children to adults. The aging of 77 million baby boomers born from 1946 through 1964 from children to workers to retirees is changing the relationship between workers and dependents.”

In the trends of men and women working, they are different because, when looking back in history, men has always been the person to build a financial basis for the family and over time women have increase their presence in the workforce, which added to the financial basis of the family structure. Then there are women who are single parents and they have increased the workforce as well, they sometimes have more than one job. Then there is the diversity, racial and ethical differences in the workforce make up a large ratio when it comes to any race or ethnic group according to various surveys. Another trait that affects the baby boomers is age discrimination, because of the economy; some employers are finding ways to get rid of, force retirement or lay off older employees and replace them with younger employees that will accept the pay offered just to have a job or an opportunity to excel throughout the company. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) banned discrimination against workers aged 40 to 65 and forbade employers to fire, demote,...
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