Economy, Better Health Lead to Longer Time in Workforce

Publication: USA Today

Author: Christine Dugas

09/03/2009 - American workers are turning grayer: Older adults are working longer, and younger adults are delaying entry into the labor force, according to a report released Thursday from the Pew Research Center.

The nation's workforce has been moving in this direction for the past two decades, the report states, but the changes have been exacerbated by the recession, despite the tens of thousands of older workers who have lost their jobs since December 2007. By 2016, 22.7% of the labor force will be 55 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2006 through 2016, such workers will have increased by 11.9 million.The main reasons: The stock market crash and the economic downturn are forcing folks to recoup retirement losses; some people have a simple desire to work longer; and young adults are remaining students longer, according to the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project.

Many older Americans are working longer because they are healthier and are likely to live longer than previous generations, says Craig Copeland, a senior research associate at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. And the jobs available are not as physically demanding as they were 10 to 20 years ago.

Older adults emphasize the psychological and social benefits of working. "The reasons for working are beyond pure pocketbook motives," says Paul Taylor, Pew executive vice president.

Read the full article Economy, Better Health Lead to Longer Time in Workforce on USA Today 's Web site.

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