Sacramento is home to the fourth-fastest-aging workforce in the United States, according to a new study released last week by CareerBuilder, which oversees a major employment website.
The CareerBuilder study looked into employment trends in the 100 most populous U.S. cities, specifically tracking age trends from 2001 to 2016. For older workers, the study tracked the growth in the number of workers ages 55 and older in the cities’ workforces over the 15-year period.
The study found that Sacramento had the fourth-greatest increase in the share of workers ages 55 and up during that time. Specifically, the study said 21.2 percent of the local workforce was 55 or older, a 1.3 percentage point increase over 15 years.
At some point those workers and their intellectual capital will retire, so a city with a workforce that is aging at a faster rate needs to ensure it is attracting an adequate supply of new talent to fill the gap and fuel economic growth
Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder
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Sacramento trailed North Port, Fla. (a market that also took in the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton), Oklahoma City and Virginia Beach, Va., respectively. CareerBuilder said 25.8 percent of North Port’s workforce was 55 or older in 2016, 1.5 percentage points higher than 15 years before.
“The relatively high percentage of over-55 workers in Sacramento reflects primarily the large role of state government,” said Michael Bernick, a labor lawyer in San Francisco and former director of the state Employment Development Department. “In California state government, it’s not uncommon as it is in other sectors to find workers who have been in state government 20 years, 30 years or more.”
Bernick cited other factors affecting Sacramento’s workforce, including “the lower level of millennials arriving from elsewhere, especially in comparison to nearby San Francisco and Oakland, and lower levels of traffic congestion that encourage early retirement, again in comparison to the Bay Area.”
Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, offered another take on metro areas with relatively high percentages of older workers.
“Whether they are motivated by financial reasons or personal choice, people are staying in the workforce longer,” Ferguson said. “At some point those workers and their intellectual capital will retire, so a city with a workforce that is aging at a faster rate needs to ensure it is attracting an adequate supply of new talent to fill the gap and fuel economic growth.
“While big cities have broad appeal, younger generations are also gravitating toward second-tier markets with diverse economies, a strong technology presence and affordable cost of living.”
Redfin, the Seattle-based online real estate brokerage, recently classified Sacramento among popular “second-tier” U.S. cities with relatively affordable homes and a good number of renovated houses in specific neighborhoods. That, according to multiple residential real estate analysts, has positioned Sacramento to be one of the nation’s hottest real estate markets in 2017. Whether that will change the age demographic of Sacramento’s workforce over the next year remains to be seen.
On the younger end of the workforce scale, the CareerBuilder study said Madison, Wis., saw the greatest increase in workers ages 22 to 34 from 2001 to 2016, with 30.3 percent of the Midwest city’s 2016 workforce in that group, a 3.1 percent increase over 15 years.
However, Madison’s overall percentage of millennial workers was actually less than San Diego, with 31.9 percent of the workforce in the 22- to 34-year-old demographic.
CareerBuilder is co-owned by The McClatchy Co., publisher of The Sacramento Bee; Tegna Inc.; and Tribune Media.