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Here is Where the Elderly Still Work … By Choice or Necessity

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Across the US, people are enjoying time off today for Labor Day. Perhaps they’re visiting parents or grandparents—after all, they probably have the day off work, too.

The workforce, like society at large, is aging. In the US, there are some 3 million more workers over 65 than there were a decade ago. Although these older employees only comprise 5% of the total workforce, they are one of the fastest growing groups of employed Americans:

With pensions punished by the financial crisis, some older people are working longer than they expected to fund their (delayed) retirement. And given that people are living longer, others choose to pass the time staying busy at work instead of pottering around at home. Still othersare being specifically sought for their experience and sympathetic customer-service skills.

Overall, nearly a fifth of Americans over 65 are still working, which is among the highest rates in advanced economies. With similar dynamics across the rich world, other countries are catching up: Over-65 participation rates have roughly doubled in places like Canada and Germany over the past decade:

(Image via sondem/Shutterstock.com)

Jason Karaian is Senior Europe Correspondent for Quartz, based in London. He previously spent 10 years at The Economist Group, first at the European edition of CFO magazine writing about the financial aspects of business and later, as financial services editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, covering the business aspects of finance. He also served as industries editor for The World In and wrote about everything from banks to bonds to basketball for The Economist. Before moving to London he was a macroeconomic analyst in Chicago, where he developed an affinity for data and statistics that he now uses to enrich—and demystify—stories about the business world.

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