Citing a strong labor market and an unemployment rate that remained less than 4 percent for most of 2018, President Donald Trump pushed for policies that would encourage more Americans to get back to work in his 2019 Economic Report, as more Baby Boomers enter retirement.
“Although this low unemployment rate is a sign of a strong job market,” the report states, “there is a question whether the rapid pace of hiring can continue and whether there are enough remaining potential workers to support continued economic growth.”
From the late 1960s through the late 1990s, the population over the age of 55 (26 to 28 percent of all adults) had gone nearly unchanged, according to the report. But as Baby Boomers age, this group grew to more than 35 percent in 2018, meaning more Americans are retiring.
“The effects of the aging population on overall employment and participation rates have been partially offset by rising participation of those at or near traditional retirement age,” the report states, attributing this to improved worker health and policy changes that reduce incentives to retire early.
Here are some of the ways the White House says it is expanding job opportunities:
Reskilling Programs/Wage Growth
Reskilling programs help train potential employees, who might lack education and skills, for higher paying jobs. Real hourly earnings in 2018 were at their highest since 2016, and wage gains were strong among the lowest-earning workers, according to the report.
Reducing Child Care Costs
High childcare costs are often a factor in preventing women from being part of the workforce. According to a Federal Reserve study, 60% of working-age women that are not working, or are working part-time rather than full-time jobs are doing so because they have a young child. To address this, the White house says it is increasing child care assistance for low-income families and doubling the Child Tax Credit.
Addressing the Opioid Crisis
Citing a strong association between opioid prescriptions and declines in labor force participation, the report emphasizes “expanded access to services while also seeking to limit the availability of prescription and illicit opioids.”
Tax incentives for investing in distressed areas through The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 lets those taxpayers defer taxes on these gains for as long as they remain in those areas through 2026.