Summary of Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages

Burnout, Recovery, and Reverse Retirement

Federal Reserve Board,

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Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages summary
How do American workers enter and exit the workforce at retirement age?


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As US baby boomers enter their retirement years, they’re considering their options: to continue working, to take on part-time positions or to end employment 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.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What demographics lie behind the phenomenon of “reverse retirement,”
  • Why one-third of surveyed retirees re-enter the workforce and
  • Why a “burnout-recovery process” might explain this labor dynamic.


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...
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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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