The COVID-19 pandemic has had many residual consequences, even as we find ways to normalize our lives. The Los Angeles Times reports on one such consequence; the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many older adults to retire earlier. The effects of this trend may change the economy for years to come, specifically with labor shortages, higher pay pressures, and pension fund issues. After reassessing their finances, older adults may have concluded they’re about as well off retiring now as working for more years. Researchers find this troubling because older workers have been an important contributor to economy-wide growth.
The reasons why older adults may not be returning to work are still a matter of debate. For some, the issue was not financial, but quality-of-life related. Some may have found being at home quite fulfilling, leading to a period of reflection and conversation about retirement. Others may have entered early retirement because of medical, family, or personal issues, while still others, rethinking life’s priorities, may have opted for traveling or some other enticing option retirement offers.
The article concludes with a troubling statistic illustrating the effects of this trend. Before COVID, employment among people 55 years and better grew on average by 1 million a year. However, as of June 2021, 55% of unemployed workers age 55 and better have become jobless for more than six months. That worries many experts, because they suspect the longer a person is unemployed, the harder it is to return to the job market. Yet despite the alarming statistics and labor shortages, experts say companies are not stepping up their efforts to recruit or retain older adults, resulting in a call to action for all labor sectors in the US.
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Lee, D. Pandemic caused many boomers to retire. What that means for the economy — and everyone else. Los Angeles Times. July 8, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2021.