Does Delayed Retirement Keep Younger Workers Underemployed?

Americans are retiring later. Studies show that the average planned retirement age has risen to a record age 67—and in reality, many seniors are working well beyond that age. They put off retirement for economic reasons, and also cite the desire to remain active and engaged. More and more seniors say that their work is an important part of their life and they enjoy it.

Often as not, articles about this trend include quotes from younger workers who speak in a resentful tone, claiming that late-retiring baby boomers will mean fewer job opportunities for younger workers. Some pundits say that older workers are “crowding out” the Gen X and Millennial workers from the labor market. But are these claims true?

A recent study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests the idea of a generation war in the workplace is a misconception. Examining data from 1977 – 2011, the economists demonstrated that in fact, older workers’ employment has no negative impact on the hourly wages or annual income of younger people. The study authors said, “This horse has been beaten to death. The evidence suggests that greater employment of older persons leads to better outcomes for the young—reduced unemployment, and a higher wage.”

You can read the full study on the Center for Retirement Research Center Boston College website . The Pew Charitable Trust also offers a discussion of the findings.

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