How Has COVID-19 Affected Older Workers’ Labor Force Participation?

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • Before COVID, more people were working longer and claiming Social Security later to improve prospects for a secure retirement.
  • The question is, how has the pandemic affected these patterns?
  • The analysis uses the Current Population Survey to compare job exits and retirements pre- and post-pandemic for workers 55 and over.
  • The results show that COVID did increase job exits, particularly for those with no college degree, women, Asian Americans, and those less able to work remotely.
  • In contrast, the pandemic had little impact on retirement and Social Security claiming, suggesting many may return to work if COVID continues to recede.