In normal times, surveys show considerable movement into and out of retirement. A booming economy and rising wages can move people who were retired one year to sign up for a job the next year.
To gauge whether this could happen this time around, Rodgers and colleague Lowell Ricketts answered a fundamental question: Who are the retirees of the COVID era?
Rodgers found an answer surprising: Most of the time, these aren’t people who are retiring early. The biggest increase in retirement was among those aged 65 to 74.
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Women were more likely to retire than men, and white workers were more likely to retire than their black and Hispanic counterparts. Workers with a high school degree or less were more likely to retire than workers with at least a college degree.
Workers in low-income households were also more likely to retire than high earners.
Employers complain about labor shortages, but David Nicklaus and Jim Gallagher say labor market imbalances are likely to persist. One factor: millions of people have chosen to retire because of the pandemic and most of them don’t want to go back to work. Video by Colter Peterson, [email protected]
To Rodgers, it all makes sense in the context of a pandemic. Low-income jobs are concentrated in industries such as retail and hospitality, which are often exposed to the public and at high risk of infection. A disproportionately large number of women are also employed in these sectors.