Forget teenagers: Fast food joints across the US are hiring senior citizens, and it's thanks to 2 major demographic trends

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Fast food joints used to rely on a steady stream of teenagers to fill positions, but now they're turning to what might seem like an unlikely demographic: senior citizens.

Chains such as Bob Evans and McDonald's are increasingly recruiting at senior centers, churches, and AARP, Bloomberg reported.

This is partially due to a nationwide labor shortage, which means there are more jobs available than people looking for them. As Josh Barro wrote for Business Insider, this is actually good news for workers because it means it's easier for unemployed people to find jobs.

"You've got an environment where, really, the economy is strong," BTIG analyst Peter Saleh previously told Business Insider. "People are trading up into better jobs. There aren't as many employees or capable employees to do the jobs these companies need."

Read more: People don't want to work at chains like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, and it's creating massive problems for the fast-food industry

The other factor in play is that more and more Americans are simply working longer than ever before in order to supplement their insufficient retirement savings.

The number of working Americans between ages 65 and 74 is expected to increase 4.5% between 2014 and 2024, while the number of those between 16 to 24 is expected to drop 1.4%, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And there are advantages for fast food companies who hire senior citizens. Older workers can be less expensive hires because they're not "necessarily looking for a VP or an executive position or looking to make a ton of money," James Gray from consulting firm Calibrate Coaching told Bloomberg. Recruiters say that older workers also usually have a leg up on teenagers when it comes to softer skills such as being on time and having a friendly attitude.
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