Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Age and Employment in Castle Country

People work (or choose not to work), in part, depending on where they live and how old they are. People also prefer to live in different places. Factors such as employment opportunities, amenities, or even family ties dictate to such. In like fashion, some industries attract a certain age demographic and are necessarily located in certain places.

The US Census Bureau tracks data that can shed light on some of this variation. It allows economists to analyze the differences in age groups in different areas and industries.

The graph below shows employment by age in Utah, Castle Country, (Carbon and Emery counties), and the Castle Country mining sector and utility sectors. For accounting purposes, all extractive industries are shown but the overwhelming majority of these jobs are in coal mining. Mining and utilities were singled out due to its prominence in the Castle Country’s economic foundation.

The age make-up of the mining and utilities sectors is different from Utah and the Castle Country profile. A striking difference is in the 16-24 year age grouping (known as a cohort). Both areas have more workers in this cohort than in the industry. The relative lack of the 16-24 cohort in the two industries could be explained by the long term decline of the two sectors; industries in contraction do not tend to hire new entrants and current workers are loathe to switch out of relatively high paying industries . This argument is supported by the relatively high employment in the “older” cohorts’, especially the age 35-44 cohort in mining and ages 55-64 in utilities.

Lastly, it stands to reason that if workers in in the older cohorts are heavily represented in the mining and utility sectors, they must be less represented in other industries. With respect to the larger industries, both cohorts are significantly underrepresented in the accommodation and retail trade sectors.