Can the Bottom Third Work Longer?

Alicia H. MunnellGeoffrey T. Sanzenbacher Steven A. Sass

IB#9-1

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The labor force activity of low-skilled men age 50-64 has declined significantly since 1960.
  • The decline mirrors the growth of disability insurance, SSI, early retirement benefits, and employers’ preference for high-skilled workers.
  • Health has improved for this group, but their disability-free life expectancy remains limited.
  • So working until their mid-60s may not be realistic or even desirable for many low-skilled men.