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Iowa has joined the rest of the country in turning the corner on the recession, with each of the workforce generations playing a key role in those efforts.
But Iowa’s economic recovery will come slower than other parts of the country, due to our lack of job growth. This may have further consequences then we realize.
According to a new study from Price Waterhouse Coopers, Generations X and Y will fuel the shopping growth needed to spur an economic recovery. Though Gen X is only about 75 percent of the size of the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations, they will mostly be responsible for the spending that is needed to fuel the economic recovery since Boomers need to recoup wealth lost during the recession of the past few years and Millennials don’t make enough money.
On the other hand, nationally, Boomers are participating in the "Gray Revolution" and are being sought to fill in job gaps, provide temporary relief, or better yet, jump into “just in time” assignments that call for more expertise and shorter commitments. There’s been an increase in human resources departments designing age-friendly practices to attract, retain and promote Boomers. Companies looking to expedite their own recovery will find this pool of wisdom workers inviting.
Millennials face a new problem in establishing their role in the recovery. Undoubtedly, Millennials are helping significantly with both the shopping growth and labor pool. However, Millennials' ages serve as a double-edged sword. They do not providing enough money or experience to lead these main functions of recovery, though their resilience, technically skills, and optimism play a crucial role in helping to sustain recovery and set the prevailing mood.
For Iowa, especially the timing of our recovery, Millennials role may have additional impacts, particularly in the coming months as another year of Millennials enter the workforce. While the rest of the nation is already in the midst of recovery, many Iowa Millennials will once again be enticed to emigrate on notions of job opportunities and income growth in warmer climates.
Many will never return. The one silver lining: the U.S. Census occurs in the spring.