“We are at the threshold of retirement mountain: a huge, huge change in the numbers of people who are reaching the age where they are leaving the labor force,” said Neal Soss, chief economist with Credit Suisse Holdings USA in New York.
While losses from declines in the value of 401k and similar accounts may force some to delay retirement, these delays will be temporary, he said.
“Maybe one of the solutions here is that they work a year or two longer,” he said. “Do we really think we are going to have a lot of 80-year-olds in the workforce? It sounds good until you start thinking about the practicalities of it.”
The baby boom, the population bulge born after World War II between 1946 and 1964, added 9.4 million people in the 16-24 age group during the 1960s and 7.3 million in the 1970s. The percentage of women in the workforce almost doubled to 60.3 percent in 2000 from 33.6 percent in 1953, according to the Labor Department.
Boomers started turning 65 this year, and every day for the next 18 years, about 10,000 more will hit the age that historically has been associated with retirement, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington. Women’s participation in the labor force may decline slightly during the next 40 years to about 57 percent because fewer will have jobs as they grow older, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects.
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