If junior can’t get a job, blame grandpa.
Battered retirement investments have led older workers to stay in, or re-enter, the workforce. And the situation has caused a shift in the average age of workers, with the percentage of young people dropping to the lowest level since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track in 1948.
At this point, the percentage of people over 65 in the workforce is at its highest rate since 1965, with almost 2 million older workers entering since the start of the Great Recession. There are now almost 7.7 million workers over 65, or 18.5 percent of the workforce. That’s 2 million more than the teenage cohort of workers.
It’s not just the younger seniors who are still punching the time clock. The number of workers over 75 has never been higher, with 7.8 percent of that age group in the workforce, nearly double the percentage from 1987, when the government starting keeping track. There are now 1.4 million people 75 and older in the workforce.
Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup Inc. in North Carolina, said his organization has been tracking the same trends and working to understand what’s going on.
“There are a couple of different factors,” he said. “After the recession and financial crisis, a lot of older Americans lost their retirement nest eggs.” Those workers don’t have the time needed to recover their investments, so they have to go back to work.