Millennials Become the Biggest Generation in the U.S. Workforce

Millennials Become the Biggest Generation in the U.S. Workforce


Millennials, generally described as 18-to-34-year-olds, have moved past Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Using Census Bureau data, Pew found there are 53.5 million millennials in the workforce, or about one-third of all workers, as of the first quarter of the year. By comparison, there are 52.7 million Gen Xers, 44.6 million baby boomers and 3.7 million from the Silent Generation.

“With its disproportionately large share of immigrants, and at an age of transition from college to the working world, the millennial generation’s workforce is highly likely to grow even further in the near future,” Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center, said in a blog post.

Of course, the much-analyzed millennial generation has also been the subject of many myths. And data on specific generations is notoriously fuzzy. For example, about 110 million Americans were born in years that fall between clear generational divides and data agencies fail to track generations over time.

Mr. Fry, in an interview, said the latest data show a generation coming of age–not just kids anymore but young adults paying taxes, taking on responsibilities and supplying the labor that could help drive the U.S. economy.

The shifting demographics present both challenges and opportunities for employers as the new wave of job-seekers strike out.