Commuters, 1970


Commuters, 1970

Back in 1979, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth interviewed some 10,000 men and women who were aged 14 to 22—folks born in the last phase of the baby boom, from 1957 to 1964. The subjects were between the ages of 47 and 56 when researchers caught up with them again in 2012 and 2013. And one thing that had happened in the intervening three decades was a lot of jobs.

From age 18 to 48, the average cohort member (and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their responses can be deemed representative of what happened to that age group as a whole) held 11.7 jobs.

As one might expect, about half of those jobs (5.5) came during young adulthood, between age 18 and 24. But even in their forties, the average number of jobs held was 2.4. In fact, of jobs held after age 40, a third lasted lest than a year and two thirds ran less than five years.

Education and gender affected the results in complex ways: Better educated men held fewer jobs than less educated men, but better educated women held more jobs.

More juicy statistics tidbits can be found in the BLS report.

But first, tell us about your own work history: Take our brief survey.

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