NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) – When we last spoke with Gina McCalister, she discussed the ongoing difficulties of staffing her business, Mulberry Jeans Accents in Newburgh. Most recently, she has noticed the workforce is getting older, faster.

“My youngest is right at 60, and my oldest is 70,” says McCalister of her part-time employees. “Most of the people I have had apply that are older because either I want something to do. I want something to go to, I want something to do and feel needed, or I just filled up my gas tank and it cost me $100.”

There are several possible explanations for the aging workforce population. According to Lindsey Daseler with HireLevel in Evansville, individuals who jumped at an early retirement opportunity during the pandemic are now running out of funds.

“Covid hit, companies had some different options,” explains Daseler. “Maybe they were just really close to going into retirement anyway, and some of them took that early retirement. But, now as things have changed, the market is constantly changing, they’re like, ‘You know what, maybe I wasn’t quite ready to hang things up, maybe I want to get back out there.”

Another explanation may not be towards the older population at all. Daseler references a statistic from the United States Census Bureau where a majority of workers between the ages of 15 and 54 did not return to work following the height of the pandemic. How will businesses plan on combating the worker shortage among younger candidates? Daseler says it all circles back to one common demand: higher wages.

“Sometimes that’s their bottom line, they have to be bringing in more money,” explains Daseler.