Millennials in the first quarter overtook Generation X as the largest component of the U.S. work force, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.
Pew’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data showed 53.5 million millennials in the labor force and 52.7 million Gen Xers.
Millennials passed baby boomers last year as the latter’s numbers declined because of retirement, Pew said. In the first quarter, 44.6 million boomers were working.
Pew said the 18-to-34 workforce was likely to grow further in the near future for two main reasons.
One, immigrants to the U.S. comprise a disproportionately large share of the millennial labor force. Immigrants come to the U.S. mainly in their young working years, not as children or as older adults, Pew said.
Since 2010, more than half of newly arrived immigrant workers have been millennials.
Two, a big chunk of millennials are 18 to 24 years old, the years when labor force participation is at low ebb and many are in school.
Pew looked for clues in Gen Xers’ behavior to get a fix on how many of the younger millennials would be looking for and getting jobs in the years ahead.