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October, 2000, Vol. 123, No. 10
Older workers: employment
and retirement trends
Patrick J. Purcell
Deciding when to retire is a choice that will affect an individualís economic circumstances for the rest of his or her life. In addition to affecting the lives of individuals, the retirement decisions of older workers have an impact on the Nationís economy. The number of people retiring each year affects the size of the labor force, which has a direct impact on the economyís capacity to produce goods and services. Other things being equal, fewer retirements in any given year would result in a greater supply of experienced workers available to employers and fewer people relying on savings, pensions, and Social Security as their main sources of income. Consequently, changes in the age profile of the population and in the average age at which people choose to retire have implications for both national income and the size and composition of the Federal budget.
To understand the factors that affect the retirement decision, one must first know what it means to "retire." Retirement is most often defined with reference to two characteristics: nonparticipation in the paid labor force and receipt of income from pensions, Social Security, and other retirement plans. An individual who does not work for compensation and who receives income only from pensions, Social Security, and financial assets would meet this definition of retirement; an individual who works for compensation and receives no income from pensions or Social Security would not meet this definition.
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 2000 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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Related BLS programs
Employee Benefits Survey
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Older workers in the 21st century: active and educated, a case study.óJune 1996.
Work after early retirement: an increasing trend among men.óApr. 1995.
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