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Employment and Retirement Among Older Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Owen Davis
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Owen Davis: Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA),

No 2021-06, SCEPA working paper series. from Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic upended labor markets and prompted a sharp increase in the share of U.S. adults who are retired. This paper uses Current Population Survey data to explore the distribution and determinants of employment and retirement among older workers during the pandemic. Employment declines among older workers were greatest for low-earning, non-white, and non-college-educated workers. By contrast, increased transitions to retirement occurred more evenly across demographic groups and concentrated in both the lowest- and highest-earning quartiles. Job characteristics that best predicted increased pandemic retirement transitions were employment in high-contact occupations and part-time work schedules. I estimate that part-time workers made up roughly 70% of the increase in net year-to-year employment-to-retirement transitions during the first year of the pandemic. This finding has implications for recent Social Security claiming behavior and for the possible persistence of the pandemic retirement boom.

Keywords: older workers; retirement; labor supply; Covid-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E21 E24 I14 J32 J38 J62 J83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age
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