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Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages

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Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages

Burnout, Recovery, and Reverse Retirement

Federal Reserve Board,

5 min read
5 take-aways
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How do American workers enter and exit the workforce at retirement age?

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  • Eye Opening
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As American baby boomers enter their retirement years, they’re considering their options: to continue working, to take on part-time positions or to stop working altogether. In this heavily statistical analysis, economists Lindsay Jacobs and Suphanit Piyapromdee identify some noteworthy trends – including those of a “burnout-recovery process” and “reverse retirement” – that might shed light on the future retirement patterns of American workers. getAbstract suggests this scholarly report to executives looking at their workforce dynamics and to career professionals thinking about their retirement choices.


A survey of retirement choices taken from a sample of American men reveals that more than 90% of respondents worked in their early fifties, but by the time they reached the age of 65, only about 50% were still employed. Some 17.4% of the retirees reported that they quit working for health reasons, and 23.5% said they had to leave their jobs due to layoffs or company closings. Another 11.9% left work due to what they described as “burnout.”

Yet more than one-third of the retirees chose to re-enter the workforce at some point after retiring...

About the Authors

Lindsay Jacobs is an economist at the Federal Reserve Board. Suphanit Piyapromdee is a lecturer in economics at University College London.

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