IB_Shattuck_Older_Workers

Human Resource Management (Available Titles Coursemate)

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CARSEY INSTITUTE ISSUE BRIEF NO. 16 SUMMER 2010 Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less ANNE SHATTU C K Key Findings The percentage of older Americans working for pay has been growing. Seventeen percent of men and 9 percent of women age 65 and over were in the labor force in 1995, but by 2009, 22 percent of men and 13 percent of women were. Older workers in rural areas are as likely as their urban or suburban counterparts to be in the labor force. Workers with college degrees, men, and divorced urban women are more likely to work past traditional retirement age. Women with college degrees have shown the most rapid increase in working at older ages. Twenty-two percent were working in 2009, up from 14 percent in 1995. Most elderly workers work on a part-time basis, but nearly half of working men and more than one-third of working women 65 and over work full-time, year-round. Rural older workers are less likely to work full- time, full-year than workers in urban areas. A cross the last half of the twentieth century, a growing proportion of older working Americans withdrew from the labor force to spend their later years in leisure. Our three-part retirement income system—Social Security, private pensions, and personal savings—along with health insurance through Medicare, gave rise to retirement as we know it and contributed to a dramatic decline in poverty rates among the elderly. In 1959, 35 percent of Americans over age 65 lived below the poverty level, but by 1990, this rate had fallen to 12 percent. 1 In 2008, it stood at 10 percent. 2 As retirement became a possibility for more Americans, labor force participation rates of older Americans declined. ±e labor force participation rate of men age 70 and over fell from 21 percent in 1963 to 11 percent in 1990. ±e rate for women age 70 and older decreased from 5.9 percent in 1963 to 4.7 percent in 1990. 3 ±e trend toward earlier retirement occurred despite an increase in longevity over this period. From 1960 to 1990, the average life expectancy of Americans at age 65 (both sexes and all races) grew by three years. 4 ±us, the average American was spending more years in retirement than ever before. For workers retiring at age 62 between 1990 and 1995, men could expect to live another seventeen years, and women, another twenty-one years. 5 Since the early 1990s, however, the trend toward earlier retirement has begun to change. Many older Americans are staying in the labor force longer. When this change first be- came apparent, it was unclear whether it would be a tempo- rary halt or a reversal of the decades-long decline in work at older ages. 6 However, recent data indicate that the proportion of older adults working for pay is still growing. Although the trend began in the 1990s, the current economic recession may be an important reason that it continues.
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IB_Shattuck_Older_Workers - Carsey Issue BrIef No. 16...

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