The ‘great resignation’ is bringing older workers back

Not only are older workers returning, but employers are shelling out to bring them back

A lot has been said about the so-called “great resignation” that has seen workers leave their jobs in droves to find greener pastures in new careers. Another impact of that, however, is on older people in retirement: companies are calling, and they want those tested employees to come back.

“Although the number of retired Americans 65 and older is nearly 3 percent higher than in 2020, the number of working older adults is more than 2 percent points higher, reflecting the broader economic recovery and strong labor market conditions,” reads a report by about the trend. “Several reasons may help explain the reversal.”

The report cites a study by MagnifyMoney identifying these trends. Some of the reasons to explain them include added competition between companies for capable workers; the general quickness of the labor market recovery in the wake of the pandemic; and a material rise in wages.

“Wages have risen accordingly, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics,” the report reads. “Median weekly wages were $951 in the first quarter of 2020, compared with $1,030 in the first quarter of 2022. Higher pay and rising inflation could encourage people to go back to work. Likewise, the 2022 stock market downturn could have older adults concerned about the state of their retirement savings.”

This is having a direct benefit for workers at least age 65, who are coming back into the workforce amid these new economic challenges and the promise of a potentially notable rise in compensation.

“In late April and early May 2020, 19.5% of Americans 65 and older were working. That figure jumped more than 2% in late April and early May 2022 to 21.9%,” the report reads. “At the same time, the share of U.S. adults who reported that they are retired also is up, from 14.9% in April and May 2020 to 17.4% in April and May 2022.”

More than 25% of those older workers are also technically self-employed, or “more than triple the rate among working Americans aged 25 to 39,” the report says.

New Jersey is the state with the largest increase in its share of older workers, while North Dakota records the biggest dip in its own 65-plus workforce, according to the data.

Read the report and the study.

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