Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EBRI Research Finds Participation Rates for Workers Over 55 Increased During Recession

According to research by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), labor force participation rate continued to increase for workers 55 and older even after the economic downturn of 2008–2009. The article "Labor-Force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older: What Did the Recession Do to the Trends" by Craig Copeland, published in the February 2011 issue of EBRI Notes, notes that for those ages 55–64, the increase is almost entirely due to an increase in women in the work force, but that for those age 65 and older, labor-force participation increased for both males and females.
Education is a strong factor in an individual’s participation in the labor force at older ages: Individuals with higher levels of education are significantly more likely to be in the labor force than those with the lower levels of education. This disparity increased from 1987–2009 for those without a high school diploma, as their rate declined while those with higher levels of education had a participation rate that stayed the same or increased.
This trend is likely to continue because of workers’ need for access to employment-based health insurance and for more earning years to accumulate assets in 401(k)-type plans, particularly after the stock market and economy downturn in 2008.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute Press Release (February 17, 2011)

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