Seniors May Be the Hardest Hit in the COVID-19 Downturn

May 20, 2020

Most Americans approaching retirement were already underprepared, but the coronavirus lockdown and the ensuing economic downturn have put them even further on the back foot. 

At the start of 2020, about 15 million seniors were living in poverty. That number is expected to jump to 25 million over the next decade, an increase of 67%, according to researchers at The New School’s Retirement Equity Lab.

Last month, the unemployment rate for those aged 55 and older jumped to 13.6%. While this remains lower than the national rate, 14.7%, workers in this age range face a tougher challenge than younger workers when it comes to finding new work.

A study from the Urban Institute found that in the recovery from the Great Recession, older workers took longer to find new work and, on average, had their wages cut by 23%. A number of older workers instead opted to take Social Security early, meaning their monthly payments would be reduced.

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