Returning to the Work Force

Sunday, January 29, 2006 | 06:47 AM

"The concept of sitting in a rocking chair and retiring just doesn't exist anymore"

Nyt_retiree_nilf_1 So says Barbara Rice, a former school teacher who now works at Borders in what she calls a "hobby job."

In fact, while the 20-40 year old set has increasingly been dropping out of the work force (NiLF), this older crowd has been the only thing preventing a total crash of the Labor Participation Rate:

"While many retirees are still focused on leisure activities, a growing number are returning to the work force. A recent study by Putnam Investments estimated that seven million previously retired people, or about 10 percent of the work force over the age of 40, are now back at work or looking for jobs.

And among those, the number of older retirees returning to work is growing quickly. Today, nearly one-fourth of all people in the 65-to-74 age group hold jobs, compared with just one in six just two decades earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Putnam's study found that the number of workers in the 65-to-74 group grew three times as fast as the overall work force last year."

About one-third of those surveyed said they were returning to work because they needed the additional income to survive financially.

The Putnam Survey  is very consistent with our prior look at labor force participation rates :  Look Who's Dropping Out of Labor Force.   

Given the post-crash damage wrought on 401ks -- now jokingly referred to as 201ks -- by the popped tech bubble, its no surprise that Babyboomers and Retirees are going back to work. But the way the demographic trends have been running, it is somewhat disconcerting to see Students, Child Rearing Women, and Over-qualified mid-level employees bailing out of the labor pool.

Time will tell if this is a short term phenomena, or an ongoing major shift . . .


The Golden Years: Travels, Hobbies and a New Job, Too
NYT, January 29, 2006

Graphic courtesy of NYT

Sunday, January 29, 2006 | 06:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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Been meaning to point out--I haven't seen the stats broken down by gender, but some of those dropouts may be child-rearing *men*. My husband is one. I happened to have the job with health insurance.

Anecdote: My mom, in her 70s, continues to work as a nurse doing at-home healthcare. Typical of her patients is the man who told her, "I have to keep working, or I couldn't afford my medicines." He is 91 years old and drives a hearse.

Posted by: George | Jan 29, 2006 12:33:07 PM

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