Sat. Jun 15th, 2024
alert-–-1-in-4-seniors-are-still-working-–-here-are-the-states-with-the-biggest-jump-in-over-65s-in-employmentAlert – 1 in 4 seniors are still working – here are the states with the biggest jump in over-65s in employment

A higher cost of living, changes in Social Security policies and significant growth in the over-65 population has meant that a larger share of older Americans are still working. 

Improved health and a more flexible job landscape has also contributed to more retirement age Americans in the workforce in recent years.

The share of Americans who report being retired fell from 16.8 percent in March 2022 to 16.2 percent in March 2024, according to US Census Bureau data analyzed by LendingTree. 

Some 22 percent of over-65s said they were still working in March 2024 – a slight decrease from 22.5 percent two years prior.

But some states have seen their population of older workers grow at a much faster rate than others, according to the report.

A higher cost of living, changes in Social Security policies and significant growth in the over-65 population has meant that a larger share of older Americans are still working

A higher cost of living, changes in Social Security policies and significant growth in the over-65 population has meant that a larger share of older Americans are still working

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New Jersey topped the list for the state with the biggest increase in retirement age workers, LendingTree found, with a huge 66.5 percent jump. 

In March 2022, 20.3 percent of over-65s were employed in the Garden State. Two years later, this had risen to 33.8 percent. 

The increase in older workers echoes population trends in the state. 

According to New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the share of residents 65 and older is increasing while the share of adults aged 18 to 64 is decreasing. 

The state’s 65-and-older population is projected to grow by 68.7 percent between 2012 and 2032 – accounting for 21.8 percent of the state’s total population. 

Second on the list is Delaware, where the number of senior workers has increased by 37.4 percent, and third is Indiana, where the number of older adults in the workforce went up by 32.2 percent over the two year period. 

Besides population shifts, the surge in retirement-age workers is down to financial insecurity, the report found.  

‘These increases could be a concerning sign that more and more older Americans are finding themselves needing extra income in their so-called golden years,’ Matt Schulz, LendingTree chief credit analyst, said. 

‘Inflation could be taking a major toll on the assumptions that these people made about what they’d need to get by in retirement.’

Sticky inflation is eroding household budgets, leaving many Americans worried about whether they will have sufficient savings to get them through their later years. 

While some Americans may be returning to work in order to make ends meet, while others may be ‘unretiring’ as they find themselves feeling restless and yearning for the buzz of an office environment. 

‘Maybe they’re bored, lonely, seeking purpose or looking for a little extra income,’ said Schulz. 

New Jersey topped the list for the state with the biggest increase in retirement age workers, LendingTree found, with a huge 66.5 percent jump over the last two years

New Jersey topped the list for the state with the biggest increase in retirement age workers, LendingTree found, with a huge 66.5 percent jump over the last two years

Joyce Fleming (pictured, right) had to return to work after retiring due to rising living costs

Joyce Fleming (pictured, right) had to return to work after retiring due to rising living costs

Amy Counts went back to work because she missed the excitement and buzz of the office

Amy Counts went back to work because she missed the excitement and buzz of the office

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Other states have seen employment among the older population drop in the last two years, according to the LendingTree analysis.

Iowa saw the largest decrease in over-65s in the workforce – down 36.5 percent from 27.1 percent in March 2022 to 17.2 percent in March 2024. 

The Midwestern state has suffered a slower post-pandemic employment recovery than the rest of the country, according to LendingTree. 

Much of the workforce lost in the state during the pandemic was among older workers with no apparent plans to head back to work. 

West Virginia had the second-highest decline of 34.3 percent – from 23.9 percent in March 2022 to 15.7 percent in March 2024. 

Kansas, meanwhile, was close behind at 34 percent, dropping from 28.2 percent in March 2022 to 18.6 percent two years later.

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