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USA Today:

Sixty-five is the normal retirement age, but many Americans are working much later in life, and it's not just because they need the money.

The number of workers who are 75 and older has skyrocketed by 76.7% in the past two decades, according to research by the AARP Public Policy Institute. "We[*] are living longer, healthier lives," says Kerry Hannon, author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+. "And the types of work that people do is not as labor intensive as it was in our parents' generation." ...

While the 75-plus group of workers has jumped, it's still a small percentage of the American labor force. It represented 7.6% last year, up from 4.3% in 1990.

But there might be more 75-plus workers if it were easier for them to keep their jobs. "I really love my work, and I feel quite useful," says Judge John J. Driscoll, a juvenile court judge in Westmoreland County, Pa. But because he turned 70 last year, he now faces mandatory retirement.

Instead of quietly retiring in January, Driscoll joined five other Pennsylvania judges in a lawsuit seeking to have the right to continue working past age 70. The case, filed in November, claims that Pennsylvania's mandatory retirement provision discriminates against people on the basis of age.

It's hard to know how many older workers are also forced to retire. But there is a growing number of older Americans who are not retired and are in search of a job. The number of unemployed Americans age 75 and older increased from 11,000 in 1990 to 75,000 in 2011, according to AARP.

Some might have lost their jobs during the recession and haven't been able to find another. "The longer you have been out of the labor force, the less likely you are to come back in," says Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute. "There is the question about skills, whether you have what employers want because technology has kept changing while you've been out of work."

American who are 75 and older tend to have certain types of jobs. For example, 25% have professional occupations, such as doctors and lawyers, while another 25% have jobs in retail trades, Rix says.

Older Americans in search of jobs should consider growing fields, such as health, education and not-profit organizations, Hannon says. "All kinds of small businesses need people with expertise," she says. "Then you can have a part-time gig with flexible schedules."

Well, I plan to work 'til I drop, hopefully blogging! (Which is one of many reasons for the site relaunch, which created new forms of writing for me, and others, to do).

That said, it's a shame if by working I "take away" a job from a young person who desperately needs one. The Social Security eligibility age should be reduced to 60 (and benefits made neutral, as a simple matter of equity). And one little stated reason there should be a Jbbs Guarantee -- besides the "market state" barbarity of regulating the economy by throwing people out of work, killing some predictable percentage of them -- is to that truly innovating small businesses wouldn't be so hard to start. We all hear the success stories about starting a business with a handful of maxed out credit cards and no health insurance, but why on earth does the country make it so hard? As some sort of test of character?

NOTE * Actually, "we" is not entirely true:

One of the most basic indicators of well-being is life expectancy. Analysts have long recognized the powerful association between personal income and expected life spans. People with higher incomes tend to live longer than people with lower incomes. Statistical tabulations suggest that the relationship is nonlinear. A $10,000 increase in annual income does more to lift the life expectancy of someone who lives on a meager income than it does to boost the life span of someone who is already well off. This suggests that transferring $10,000 a year from someone who is rich to someone who is poor should lift the expected life span of the poor recipient more than it hurts the life span of the rich donor. It therefore seems logical to expect that a more egalitarian income distribution would lift average life expectancy.

Average: 5 (1 vote)


nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I have some problem with judges staying on the bench. Some can be great -- it would have been awful to throw William Brennan off the court at age 70. But keeping people in powerful jobs is sort of like issuing a permanent driver's license to an elderly driver. Many are good drivers, but some suffer sufficient physical deterioration that they're dangerous to themselves and others. Unless responsible managers are more willing to take on people whose faculties have lost some sharpness, I'd worry about coming up before a judge who wouldn't admit to hearing difficulties or early Alzheimer's symptoms.

I know people in their late seventies who work and say they would die if they couldn't. We need to address the issues with the understanding that people and jobs differ. Even in this article, the normal retirement age is given as 65. But full Social Secuirty benefits don't start until 66 for current retirees and will rise to 67 in the coming years. I worry that articles like this reinforce a further raising of Social Security age (i.e., cutting Social Security).

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

of the propaganda that has been coming out of major newspaper editorials (and, of all places, the AARP!) since at least 2006 [which is one reason that I never believed that economists didn't know "The Crash" was coming in 2007].

Anyway, just renewed our AARP membership weeks ago, but as an advocacy organization for "retired or near-retired folks," they're absolutely USELESS. Subscribed to them a couple of months before I turned fifty thinking that they might actually be the AARP that my parents were members of.

I've read their material since I was a preteen (my parents were old enough to be my grandparents), and I can tell the Corrente community (not that I need to, LOL!), THEY AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE. Not even close!

They've been generating these pieces for seven years or so, IMO, in order preemptively quell the resentment of the masses, who will be forced to work for the rest of their lives when Social Security and Medicare benefits are shredded under this Administration.

Heck, even C-Span's Washington Journal's been getting in on the act for the past several years. More think tanks "experts" than I could count on both hands have been on touting the wonderful "benefits" of working into your seventies or eighties.

Here's the kicker. Just found an AARP piece (on their website) that actually quotes some of these experts, as follows:

Forget about retiring at 63 or even 66. If we’re fortunate, toiling away into our 70s, 80s and even our 90s will become the new normal as we live longer and remain healthier. . . .


“Responding effectively to longer lifespans will require changes in business practices and public policies,” say the professors in a Harvard Business Review blog. “Attitudes need to change.” . . .


The professors also had some advice for older workers. Sometimes, they say, it may not be reasonable to expect our income to continue to rise at the latter stages of our careers. It may just be that seniority-based pay exceeds performance at that point.

In these cases, we should expect companies to bring pay and performance in line. This way, we’re more likely to keep our jobs well past traditional retirement ages and not have to relinquish them to younger workers.

And this excerpt:

It is not clear whether the growing life expectancy gap between the affluent and less affluent can be traced to widening inequality. It may be due instead to growing differences in eating habits, smoking, exercise, and lifestyle habits that favor the affluent over the less affluent.

What can I say? I guess when propaganda is insufficient, the experts just resort to flat out lying.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

make several corrections, blockquoted the comment, etc., but when I finished and tried to post it, it said "Access Denied."

So, it's rather sloppy, but I'm too pushed for time this evening, to make all the revisions again. So, I apologize for the 'cryptic mess.'

athena1's picture
Submitted by athena1 on

It is not clear whether the growing life expectancy gap between the affluent and less affluent can be traced to widening inequality. It may be due instead to growing differences in eating habits, smoking, exercise, and lifestyle habits that favor the affluent over the less affluent.

Not like poverty effects eating habits of rich vs poor (produce is expensive compared to carbs), lack of health care and self-medication, etc or anything.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

"eating habits," lack of health care, etc.

My snide remark pertained to the fact that many experts frame this issue as one of a "lack of character," or to be blunt, "sorriness or worthlessness of the poor."

This, in spite of the many studies which document the very real negative and damaging effects of inequality in societies.

The PtB never acknowledge that their policies are responsible for ANY of the tragic effects of inequality. Yet they clearly know that they have created the milieu that sets up so many of our societal ills.

That's what I meant by the experts resorting to "lying."