Old hands at work
Old hands at work Via Pexels

New research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) indicates a notable aging of the U.S. workforce, as workers aged 65 and older now constitute a larger portion of the workforce aged 55 and older than they did in 2000.

Notably, the report also underscores demographic shifts within the older workforce.

In 2023, Latinos had the highest labor force participation rates across age categories 55 or older, 65 or older, and 75 or older, compared with Whites and Blacks, marking a significant change from 2000, when Latinos had some of the lowest participation rates. Conversely, Whites, who had the highest rates in 2000, saw some of the lowest rates this past year.

Craig Copeland, EBRI's director of wealth benefits research, emphasized the increasing diversity of the older workforce in the study, pointing out the decreasing share of white Americans in this demographic.

"These trends have important implications for employers in designing optimal employee benefit plans to accommodate an older and more diverse workforce."

The researchers made use of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, available through the Bureau of Labor Statistics. First, they investigated the trends in labor force participation rates of those 55 years or older by age and gender. Then they explored labor force trends by race among these individuals.

Elsewhere, the report highlights several key findings:

  • In 2022 and 2023, labor force participation rates among males aged 60-64 increased, while participation rates declined for those aged 75 and older.
  • For females, there were increases in participation rates among those aged 55-59 and 70-74 in the same period, but a decrease for those aged 60-64 in 2023.
  • Despite reaching its highest point since 2001 in 2022, the male share of the labor force aged 55 or older decreased in 2023.
  • The female share of this labor force has generally declined since 2010, though it saw a slight increase last year.
  • Women aged 55 and older still represent a higher share of the labor force than they did in the late 1990s.

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