The Workforce Saving America’s Economy Is Not Who You Expect

( – Labor Department statistics show that senior Americans are helping keep the US economy afloat, with 1 in 5 people aged 65 still in work – a figure twice as high as three decades ago. Additionally, the median age of the American worker is now 41.8, almost two years higher than in 2002.

Pew Research has furthermore revealed that the earning power of over 65s has increase significantly from £13 per hour in 1987, to $22 per hour today. Richard Fry, senior researcher for social & demographic trends at Pew Research Center, said 11 million over 65s were employed last year, compared to just over 8 million in 1987.

Joseph Quinn, professor of economics at Boston College, said the figures represent good and bad news. He noted that working individuals are financially better off and are stabilizing the economy in an aging America. But, he cautioned, people are not working over 65 because they want to but because they have to.

Gallup survey figures reveal that the average retirement age in the United States is up from 59 in the early 2000s to 62 in 2023. Economists say the reasons are varied, but they agree that most people over 65 today are more educated and healthier than decades ago.

Some employees insist they stay at work because they find it fulfilling. Joan Madden-Ceballos, a 65-year-old Californian, said she wouldn’t know how to fill her time without work, while Lori Hvizda Ward, 64, returned to teaching because she was bored.

Labor Department data also shows that the fastest-growing demographic in the labor market is over-75s, who make up 9% of the market but are paid on average $2 an hour less than their 65-year-old counterparts.

Employers say the benefits of older employees include experience, a stronger work ethic, more reliability, and better spoken and written communication skills than younger workers. Pew found that older people are also less likely to find work stressful and more likely to find it rewarding.

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