New figures from OPM show that the percentage of federal employees eligible to retire is holding about steady, while there has been a small increase in another much-watched number, the percentage of employees under age 30.
Demographic data posted along with further details from the 2019 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey show that 15 percent of federal employees currently are eligible to retire, about the same as the most recent data in a separate OPM report through September 2017.
That report further showed that just under 90 percent of employees under CSRS were retirement-eligible—a number that likely has increased since then—while that was true of just over 12 percent of FERS employees.
Retirement eligibility numbers have been closely watched for years for signs of a potential “retirement wave” as the large baby boom generation hits eligibility. However, in practice the numbers of retirements among non-postal federal employees have largely been in the 60,000-70,000 range for about 15 years—save for a drop in 2008-2010 when the economic recession caused some to delay their retirements.
Retirements among Postal Service employees have caused the total retirement number to spike at times, largely because of early-out offers coupled with buyouts.
Persons age 60 and older now make up 14.1 percent of the federal workforce compared with 13.7 percent in the 2017 numbers, while those aged 50-59 make up 30 percent compared with 31.6 percent.
On the opposite end, the new figures show that 8 percent of non-postal employees are age 29 and under, up from 6.1 percent in the 2017 figures. That number commonly is watched as an indicator of how attractive the government is as an employer and how well it will be able to maintain operations as older, more experienced workers retire.
More on Retirement Eligibility & FERS Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) at ask.FEDweek.com