Study: Older Americans Continuing to Work Well After Retirement Age

By: Daniel Steingold | June 20, 2016

A new Pew Research Center analysis of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that more older Americans— defined as those 65 years of age or older— are working than since the turn of the millennium.

In May 2016, there were nine million older Americans working full-or part-time, which equates to 18.8 percent of the population. Compare this to May of 2000, when only 12.8 percent of the older population, or four million individuals, were reported to have been working.

This increase is interesting on many fronts, in particular because the trend runs counter to the grander adult population in the United States, which has never completely recovered from the job losses sustained during the last recession.

It was found that percentage increases in terms of employment were across the board in terms of age brackets for older Americans. 65-to 69-year-olds, 70-to 74-year-olds, and those 75 and older all saw an uptick in employment.

It is believed that the employment rate for older Americans began rising in the mid-1980s, and has risen since. Prior to the current rise, employment rates had fallen for three straight decades.

In addition to more older Americans working, it has been documented that a significantly higher percentage of these workers are working full-time. A full ten percent more of those working who are 65 or older are full-time employees.

Older workers are least likely to work in the food service industry, while most likely to be in a management or legal position.

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