An economist will tell you it’s a hot labor market: A record number of people quit their jobs in September, and the U.S. is seeing record job openings as the economy chugs back to life from the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic drove millions of workers into early retirement — and experts say they could be key to reviving the economy.
The number of people who retired rose much faster than the typical pace during the pandemic. More than 3 million additional people retired compared with normal, a Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis analysis found. Meanwhile, the economy is still down nearly 4 million jobs from before COVID-19.
“40% of the older workers that were pushed out of the labor market because they were unemployed, they were laid off, they were fired during the pandemic, 40% of them were permanent job losers and most of them said OK, I’m not just a discouraged worker, I’m not a long-term unemployed, I’m going to tell the [Labor Department] survey I’m retired,'” said Teresa Ghilarducci, labor economist and professor at The New School.
But even if retirees return to work at the average pre-pandemic pace, it will take more than two years to bounce back from the recent surge in retirements, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas found.
Last month, employment among workers 55 and older increased while unemployment dropped slightly. Older workers are typically more likely to face long-term unemployment than younger workers. While long-term unemployment among older workers changed little last month, it has declined in recent months. Older Americans coming out of retirement might not be returning to the same landscape.
Author(s): Sarah Ewall-Wice
Publication Date: 8 Dec 2021
Publication Site: CBS News