PEOPLE AGE 55 AND OVER For the work force 55 years and over, the LFPR is quite different from that of earlier ages. The LFPR of this group declined from about 43% in the early 1950’s to a minimum of about 29% in early 1990’s. Since then, it has been rising and continued to rise during the recession. Now [5/15] it is about 40%. One explanation is this: “Perhaps older Americans are being forced to work more because they have not saved enough for their retirement. This lack of savings may be a result of the recent economic trends in America: stagnant wages, depleted retirement portfolios (from the 2008 financial crisis), and rising health care costs.”* The age at which workers are eligible for full Social Security benefits is rising and will affect the choices available especially to those 62 and over. With a later age for full retirement benefits, those retiring earlier will suffer a larger decline in monthly benefits.
Zero Hedge reports that since the “recovery,” virtually all job gains have gone to older workers… April  merely confirmed this demographically disastrous trend, and of the 255K workers added in the household survey when broken down by age group, more than all, or 266K went to workers aged 55 and older. …. increasingly old Americans are forced to work well into their retirement years not because they want to but because they have no choice, thanks to the Fed’s ZIRP policy which has destroyed any retirement value their savings may have had.” According to the Center for Retirement Research, “declines in housing wealth during the Great Recession lowered [estimated] retirement probabilities of married males by as much as 15 to 19 percent.Â This delay was offset in cases where the household had defined benefit or defined contribution pensions.”
“Today, more than half of working households do not have enough assets to avoid a drop in consumption in retirement, according to analyses by Alicia H. Munnell from Boston College and her colleagues. The proportion of households in that group has increased by 10 percentage points in just the last 10 years.” [Porter, “Doing More, Not Less, to Save Retirees From Financial Ruin,” NY Times, 6/16/15]
Low-wage Workers: Still Older, Smarter, and Underpaid, Bucknor, CEPR 5/15
*Information from http://bpr.berkeley.edu/2013/04/the-declining-labor-force-participation-rate-why-this-trend-should-be-taken-seriously/, link now broken.