Tags: retirement | older | workers | AARP

No Retirement: More Older Women Are Still Punching a Time Clock

By    |   Tuesday, 22 April 2014 11:58 AM

Older workers are a growing presence in the American labor force and recently reached the highest level since at least 1975, a trend driven mainly by women, according to a report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The overall labor-force participation rate of those ages 55 or older hit 40.5 percent in 2012, the EBRI said, based on the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The upward trend in labor-force participation by older workers is likely related to workers’ current need for continued access to employment-based health insurance and for more years of earnings to accumulate savings in defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans and/or to pay down debt,” said Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and author of the report.

“Many Americans also want to work longer, especially those with more education for whom more meaningful jobs are available that can be performed into older ages.”

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There is apparently a generational impact regarding the fact that more older Americans are still working. It found that as the labor-force participation rate for older Americans began to rise in the late 1990s, the rate for younger workers began to noticeably decline.

“It appears either that older workers filled the void left by younger workers’ lower participation, or that higher older worker participation limited the opportunities for younger workers or discouraged them from participating in the labor force,” Copeland said.

The EBRI study found the increase in labor-force participation for the age groups below age 65 was primarily driven by increases in female labor-force participation rates.

Female labor-force participation rates for those ages 55–59 and 60–64 increased sharply from 1975–2013. The 1975 rate for females ages 55–59 was 47.9 percent, compared with 67.2 percent in 2013.

EBRI research has shown many Americans expect to work later in life in order to keep saving for retirement, even though many current retirees report they were forced to leave work earlier than planned for reasons beyond their control.

“Continued employment in old age is an aspiration for some and perhaps a financial reality for others. It is, however, not something on which workers should depend for the financing of their retirement expenses.”

Sarah Rix, a senior strategic policy adviser at AARP, said it’s not surprising women make up such a significant portion of older workers.

“Women are more anxious than men about retirement income security, a factor that may be pushing more of them to remain longer in the labor force, especially post-recession,” she said.

“Older women are less likely than older men to have a spouse. Prolonging employment can go a long way toward shoring up finances for retirement, especially important for non-married women.”

The AARP said age discrimination is a fact of life for those older Americans who are forced to leave work earlier than they planned.

Of about 1,500 older workers surveyed by the AARP, 64 percent said they had seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Of those, 92 percent said it is very or somewhat common.

Editor's Note: Add Up to $152,046 to Your Social Security Benefits Using Weird Trick

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Older workers are a growing presence in the American labor force and recently reached the highest level since at least 1975, a trend driven mainly by women, according to a report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute.
retirement, older, workers, AARP
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2014-58-22
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 11:58 AM
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