American Workforce Evolves to Older, More Diverse

Older Hispanic woman cleaning a table

New research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that the workforce is aging. The data showed that workers aged 65 or older make up a larger portion of the age 55 or older workforce in the U.S. than they did in 2000. The percentage of those ages 65 and older increased from 23% of the age 55 or older workforce in 2000 to 29.5% last year. This occurred while the labor force participation rates of those ages 55-64 surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while the labor force participation rates of those ages 65 or older did not.

Key findings in the new research report include:
• In 2022 and 2023, among males, the labor force participation rates of those ages 60-64 increased but declined for those ages 75 or older. Increases in the labor force participation rates of females ages 55-59 and 70-74 also were seen in 2022 and 2023, but the labor force participation rates decreased for females ages 60-64 in 2023.

  • After rising to its highest point since 2001, in 2022, the male share of the labor force ages 55 or older decreased in 2023. The female share of the labor force ages 55 or older has generally fallen since 2010, though it did increase slightly last year. Despite this, females ages 55 or older are still a higher share of the labor force than they were in the late 1990s.
  • In 2022 and 2023, the labor force participation rates of those ages 70-74 trended toward 2019 levels but did not quite reach these rates. The labor force participation rates of those ages 55-59 and ages 60-64 surpassed 2019 levels in 2023. In contrast, the labor force participation rate of those ages 75 or older in 2023 stayed at its 2021 level, below its 2019 level, while the labor force participation rate of those ages 65-69 decreased last year to below its 2022 and 2019 levels.
  • Across the age categories of 55 or older, 65 or older and 75 or older, Hispanic Americans had the highest labor force participation rate in 2023 compared with white and black Americans, despite having some of the lowest rates in 2000. Conversely, white Americans, who tended to have the highest labor force participation rates in 2000, had some of the lowest rates compared with Hispanic and black Americans by 2023.
  • From 2000-2023, the share of the labor force of Americans ages 55 or older who were Hispanic grew from 5.9% to 13.3%. During the same period, the share of this population that was white decreased from 87.4% to 80.7%.

“The movement of the Baby Boom generation out of the age groups younger than 65 has made the composition of the older workforce even older,” said Craig Copeland, EBRI director of wealth benefits research. “At the same time, the older workforce is becoming more diverse, as a smaller share of white Americans comprise the ages 55 or older population. These are important considerations for employers to understand, as older workers and a more diverse work force calls for additional or new answers to the optimal design of employee benefit plans.”

To view a summary of the research report, click here.

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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