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Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends

(Congressional Research Service, September 2009)

This report begins by describing the change in the age distribution of the U.S. population that will occur between 2010 and 2030 and by summarizing the historical data on the labor force participation of older workers. This discussion is followed by an analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) on employment and receipt of pension income among persons aged 55 and older. Employment trends among older workers are then discussed in the context of data from the Social Security Administration on the proportion of workers who claim retired-worker benefits before the full retirement age (66 for people who turn 65 in 2009). The final section of the report discusses “phased retirement,” a process that combines reduced hours of work with receipt of pension income.