Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Urban Institute Research Shows Increase in Older Worker Labor Participation Rates

Growing concerns about retirement income security appear to be leading to an increase in seniors’ labor force participation rates stems, according to a report from the Retirement Policy Program of the Urban Institute. "Rising Senior Unemployment and the Need to Work at Older Ages" also reports that unemployment rates for older workers reached record levels in 2009, partly because fewer workers eligible for early retirement benefits are dropping out of the labor force. With more older workers remaining in the labor force and searching for work after they lose their jobs, the there is an imperative for new policies that help address the special challenges that older job seekers face.
Unemployment has serious consequences at older ages. It usually takes older workers an especially long time to become reemployed. The earnings lost while out of work certainly make it more difficult for unemployed people to meet current spending needs. But unemployed older workers also forgo Social Security and pension credits and are less able to save, leaving them with less money in retirement. When older workers become reemployed, they usually end up earning much less than they did on their former jobs.
Among other things, the report calls for the federal and state governments to improve workforce development programs. They need additional funding and be redesigned to better serve workers of all ages. In addition, Congress could change Medicare secondary payer rules to require the federal health insurance program to provide primary coverage to workers age 65 and older with employer-sponsored health benefits, instead of forcing these older workers to rely primarily on their employer’s insurance.

Source: Urban Institute Press Release (September 23, 2009)

No comments: