July 12, 2021

Ageism Costs the Economy Trillions

A new report from AARP found that age discrimination cost the U.S. economy $850 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018, and that number appears to be increasing over time. The researchers calculated the loss in productivity due to older Americans not finding work or being promoted due to age discrimination.

There are 117.4 million people in the country aged 50-plus, and many plan to work well past the age of 65. In 2018, the work performed by people over the age of 50 comprised 40% of the GDP.

The $850 billion loss is projected to worsen over time as the American labor force ages. With a greater proportion of American workers over 50, there is more opportunity for discrimination to cause even greater losses in productivity. All industries are affected by the discrimination, but the researchers found that the technology and automotive manufacturing sectors have the most to lose in the future.

By 2050, the U.S. could miss out on a 15% increase in the 50-plus population’s economic contribution because of discrimination. That would mean an estimated annual loss to GDP of close to $4 trillion.

“It makes no business sense to push skilled workers out simply because they are aging, and the country will pay the price if this widespread practice does not stop,” said Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Peters, Jr. “The House has already passed H.R. 2062, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. Now we need the Senate to follow suit.”

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