COVID Could Force 4 Million Older Workers to Retire Early

August 21, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, more than 3 million Americans between the ages of 55 and 70 have left the labor force, according to research from the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. While workers of all ages were impacted by the quarantine shutdown, the likelihood of older workers returning to work is less than their younger counterparts. Older workers are less likely to have jobs that can be performed remotely and more likely to have underlying health conditions that make the virus more serious, meaning older Americans may be forced to opt out of returning to work and retire instead.

The study found that it can take older workers twice as long as younger workers to find new employment, and they are more likely to be paid less at their new job. 

The report says that if current trends continue apace, there could be an additional 1.1 million older workers who leave the workforce. The report goes on to warn that having 4 million people forced into early retirement could exacerbate the recession and increase old-age poverty rates.

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