Boomers Comprise Larger Percentage of Maine Workforce

AN analysis done by Economic Modeling Specialists International and Career Builder (the site has an interactive map that I cannot properly embed here) examined the change in employment levels for millennials and baby-boomers in the nation’s 175 metro areas.  The analysis found that boomers are comprising a larger percentage of the workforce, while employment for millennials lagged.

Some of the key findings of the analysis:

  • More young workers are snatching up restaurant jobs. Food prep and serving had the largest growth rate for millennials (18%) and the largest increase in the share of young workers (35% of food prep workers were millennials in 2013, up from 32% in 2007). Meanwhile, food prep and serving jobs shot up 20% among baby boomers, but 55- to 64-year-olds account for only 7% of the occupation group.
  • Health care is a major growth area for baby boomers. The two occupation groups with the fastest growth from 2007 to 2013 among boomers was health care support (26%) and health care practitioners (22%). Boomers added the most total new jobs in office and administrative occupations (nearly 350,000, up 10%).
  • Computer jobs grew 10 times faster for boomers than millennials. Nationally, computer and mathematical jobs increased 2% for young workers from 2007 to 2013, compared to 20% for boomers. (Keep in mind, millennials make up 32% of this field and boomers 11%).
    • This key area of the STEM economy has decreased among millennials in the New York metro (-2%), Chicago (-2%), and Los Angeles (-6%), while it’s grown in tech centers such Austin (9%), San Francisco (12%), Baltimore (13%), Seattle (13%). The fastest millennial computer and math occupation growth has been in Charleston (40%) and San Luis Obispo (39%).
    • Among boomers, computer and math jobs rose at least 35% in Denver, San Jose, Green Bay, Raleigh, Provo-Orem, Utah, and Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri.

The Portland-South Portland-Biddeford region, like the rest of the nation, experienced large gains in employment for baby boomers, 4,730 jobs, while millennials gained just 785.  Over the observed period, 2007 – 2013, as a percentage of the workforce, boomers experienced a decline in just one industry, fishing, farming, and forestry, while millennials lost ground in 10 of the 23 observed industries.

Boomers are most prevalent in the legal field, comprising 22.5% of the workforce, education, training, and library services, 22.1%, and architecture and engineering, 21.7%.  Conversely, the industries with the lowest percentage of boomers in the workforce are, computer and mathematics, 14%, farming fishing, and forestry, 13.7%, and food prep/service, 6.7%.


Millennials are most prevalent in food prep/service, comprising 35.9% of the workforce, healthcare support, 29.7%, and personal care and service, 29.3%.  Conversely, the industries with the lowest percentage of millennials in the workforce are, education, training, and library services, 19.7%, management, 16.5%, and legal, 15.4%.

In terms of raw number of jobs, most boomers work in the office and administrative support, 8,871 jobs, sales and related, 4,679, and management, 3,675. This group lost jobs in 4 of the 23 observed industries.

Most millennials work in office and administrative support, 10,390, food prep/service, 9,128, and sales and related, 7,732.  This group lost jobs in 14 of the 23 observed industries.

As a side note, the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford region has the second lowest percentage of millennials in legal occupations, 15.4%, nationally.

John Haskell

About John Haskell

John graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Political Science, and from the University of Maine School of Law. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, and currently, works with a small business services company in the Mid-Coast area.