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Hundreds of thousands of Retired Individuals Aren’t Coming Again to Work as Predicted


Nov 9, 2023


(Bloomberg) — Greater than three-and-a-half years after COVID struck, the US nonetheless has round 2 million extra retirees than predicted, in one of the hanging and enduring adjustments to the nation’s labor power.

The so-called Nice Retirement induced by COVID-19 is clear within the divergence between the precise variety of retirees and that predicted by a Federal Reserve financial mannequin. Whereas down from a 2.8 million hole late final yr, it stays elevated right this moment and has even risen from 1.7 million in June.

“Whereas the hole gave the impression to be closing earlier within the yr, it appears to have widened barely since then,” stated Miguel Faria-e-Castro, financial coverage adviser on the Federal Reserve Financial institution of St. Louis. “As of September, we estimate about 1.98 million extra retirees.”

Earlier than the pandemic, the participation price for staff age 65 and older reached 20.8% earlier than dropping two-and-a-half share factors by July 2021. The speed has since risen a share level to 19.3% however stays nicely under the pre-pandemic excessive.

The dearth of older staff is creating some shortages. In Michigan, a state regulation was tweaked to make it simpler for lecturers to “un-retire” with out risking their pensions. 

Earlier than this summer time’s rise in extra retirees, there was hypothesis that an entire “un-retirement” wave was below manner. However that appears to haven’t been the fact.

For a lot of older Individuals, leaving the labor market is a one-way road. Whereas many could miss the routine and stimulation — and wish to resume work for monetary causes — rejoining the workforce could be tough.

Expertise atrophy, work connections quickly fade and job-seekers could confront ageism, all making it more durable for a lot of older staff to discover a job. In 2022, the imply length to discover a job for folks age 65 and older was 31.6 weeks, 9 weeks longer that the general common.

Earlier than the pandemic, from 2017 to 2019, roughly 3% of retired staff on common ended up having a job a yr later.


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