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May 22, 2003
Workers Stay in the Workforce Past Retirement Age

The Census Bureau released a new report Tuesday showing the number of Americans working beyond retirement age increased by nearly 50 percent between 1980 and 2002, the Associated Press reports.

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There were about 4.5 million people aged 65 or older who were working or seeking work in the United States in 2002. About 13.2 percent of all seniors were in the workforce. By contrast, about 3 million Americans over the age of 65 were in the workforce in 1980. In that year, 12.6 percent of seniors were in the workforce.

The AP notes that greater numbers of older workers are staying in the workforce because some want to keep working and others are remaining due to concerns about Social Security, healthcare costs and economic conditions that hit their retirement savings.

"People are more nervous now than they were a year ago," Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, tells the AP. "You have lots of folks approaching retirement age, scratching their heads and wondering if they can do it."

Experts also tell the AP that more seniors in the workforce now because more Americans are living longer, healthier lives and more women are returning to the workforce after raising children.

Sales work was the most popular job for seniors in the workforce in 2002, the AP reports.

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