The proportion of U.S. adults who are "in the labor force"--that is, who either have jobs or are unemployed and looking for a job--has been falling for a decade,....But for one demographic group, the elderly, labor force participation is rising substantially.
....for men over age 62, rates of labor force participation were falling through the 1980s, bottomed out around 1990, and have been rising since then. For women, the pattern is a little different, because a much greater proportion of women entered the paid workforce in the 1970s and 1980s, and so compared with earlier generations, a larger share of women continued working into their 60s and 70s, too.
The rising labor force participation of the elderly in the last two decades represents a remarkable social change. ....Through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the notion that more and more people would retire earlier and earlier seemed like an inexorable social trend. But the patterns have changed--and they changed long before the Great Recession.
....a pattern of "keep living more years while working fewer years" was never a viable long-term option.As millions of Europeans and American public employees are now discovering.