Senior male carpenter using digital tablet while working in workshop
Gunnar Svanberg Skulason Senior male carpenter using digital tablet while working in workshop

Though we're just over halfway through this decade, it's becoming apparent that as baby boomers leave the workforce, the U.S. has taken a hit.

Between 2010 and 2020, the retirement of baby boomers will lower the GDP growth per capita 1.2 percentage points each year, writes a new study out this week from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The good news is that the aging will slow down immensely in the next decade and help the U.S. GDP get back to normal.

What's surprising is the composition of the slowdown. Just one-third is driven by slowing workforce expansion and the rest by a drop in productivity gains. The productivity slump isn't reserved to older workers: it takes place across age groups, the researchers find.

The authors suggest a few theories about why that's the case. It could simply be that younger and older workers complement one another. Or the most productive older workers might be leaving the workforce, while less-productive old timers stay on the job.

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