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Photo: James Leynse/Corbis/Getty Images

The developed world is aging — in the coming decades, the U.S., Europe and nations across Asia will have hundreds of millions more people who are 60 and older.

The big picture: Much of this coming avalanche of senior citizens won't be playing pinochle at retirement homes. Instead, if technology optimists are correct that advanced economies will continue to need massive numbers of workers despite automation, hiring will continue to be tight. Because they have the most experience, older employees are going to be in huge demand and will work a decade and perhaps longer past 65.

Why it matters: Few companies appear to have made the mental shift to accepting that they need to retain and continue to promote older workers rather than letting them go, according to a recent survey.

Neither has public policy caught up with the aging society, which, unless adjustments are made, will swamp programs like Medicare and Social Security.

  • Bias runs deep: Across society and business, it's assumed that older workers are less mentally capable, less agile technologically and overall less desirable for hiring and retention than someone younger.
  • "Our society should be ageless," Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, tells Axios.
  • "This is one of the great challenges of the 21st century — everything will change because of this. And the society that gets it right will be the winners," he says.

Irving wrote about the situation in a new piece for the Harvard Business Review.

What's happening:

  • The U.S. and other advanced countries are aging: In a little over 15 years, U.S. retirees will outnumber people 18 and under — the first time this has happened in U.S. history.
  • And so is the workforce: In just six years, people 55 and older will be 25% of the workforce, double from 12% in 1994.
  • They are also shrinking: The population of most advanced countries is falling because of lower birth rates and a falloff in immigration.

These are long-range trends: The aging of American society and the workforce will not reverse after boomers are gone — Gen Xers and millennials will continue the shift once they reach 65.

  • One big fact: Keeping older workers on the job is a potential part of the solution to the social system crisis, as they would continue paying into the social security system.

But embracing older workers will create new problems:

  • In at least some cases, older workers sticking around could make it harder for young people to move up the career ladder.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

  • Pfizer has said its vaccine is 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

GOP lawmakers downplay Capitol riot at House hearing

Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

Republican members of Congress sought to minimize the Capitol insurrection at a House hearing on Wednesday, with statements calling pro-Trump rioters "patriots" and other lawmakers falsely denying demonstrators were supporters of the former president at all.

Driving the news: The hearing comes shortly after House Republicans voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership over her criticism of former President Trump's actions leading up to and on Jan. 6.

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.