Retirements and other withdrawals from the labor force highlight the latest report of economic indicators in the Peoria metro area.
The overall index, compiled by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Bradley University, shows only two-tenths of a change down from the third quarter mark of 101.7.
The center's Bernard Goitein said, as in the previous quarter, there was a decline in the number working, without a corresponding increase in the unemployment rate.
"It offers an opportunity for employers who are trying to reduce employment in certain categories to do that in a relatively easy way through retirement incentives, and that in turn opens up jobs, potentially for younger people," Goitein said.
According to the report, the Goitein says the "quit rate", measuring those voluntarily leaving the work force, was 2.1 percent, up slightly from the third quarter.
Goitein said the earliest baby-boomers are now 70 years old, but more and more from that generation are retiring.
"We're seeing the continual impact of withdrawal of residents in the labor force, which is consistent with what you'd expect with that large post-World War Two baby-boom generation," Goitein said.
The report indicates little change during the fourth quarter in unemployment, but a 1.3 percent decline in the total number of people working. It's the second straight quarter the labor market has shown such a shift.
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