On This PageSeptember, No. 254

This article explores the future of teacher labor markets. The authors find that teacher hiring needs will rise over the coming decade largely because of retirements. However, this increase will not be significantly different from that of past decades.

The Impact of Baby Boomer Retirements on Teacher Labor Markets
Last Updated: 08/14/08
One important consequence of the ongoing baby boom retirement is an unprecedented loss in work experience. An aging workforce has caused particular unease in elementary and secondary education; some school districts envision repercussions from increases in retirement, as well as other forms of turnover. The authors use the 1940–2000 U.S. Decennial Censuses to plot one measure of expected retirement—the fraction of teachers 50 years and over. That share rose from 18% in 1980 to 31% in 2000. While the 2000 level is comparable to the 1960 level, the teacher workforce became notably younger in the 1960s and 1970s. By contrast, it is quite reasonable to expect that the current teacher age distribution will remain intact in the near term. Moreover, the teacher age distribution is more skewed toward older employees than the college-educated workforce in general.