‘Great Retirement’ in USA is led by older female baby boomers | News about Coronavirus pandemic


There were 3.3 million, or 7 percent, more retirees in the United States in October 2021 compared to January 2020.

The rise in U.S. retirements during the Covid-19 pandemic was led by older white women without a college education, according to research from St. Louis Federal Reserve.

The so-called Great Retirement trend, which saw workers leave the labor market – whether they were forced or by choice – was driven by baby boomers aged 65 and older, the regional Fed bank wrote in a recent blog post. In contrast, pensions among the 54-65-year-olds had changed slightly.

Overall, there were 3.3 million, or 7%, more retirees in October 2021 than in January 2020, a figure that exceeds the expected demographic shift for the large baby boomer cohort out of the workforce.

Here are some of the other results:

Who are the pandemic retirees?

  • Female workers were more likely to retire than men, especially among those over 65 years of age
  • White workers were more likely to retire than black, Hispanic, and Native American peers
  • Asian Americans were slightly more likely to retire than white workers of similar ages
  • Workers who were married or widowed were more likely to retire than their never-married, single peers
  • Workers with a high school diploma or minor were more likely to retire than peers with at least some college education
  • Veterans were more likely to retire than non-veterans, especially among those aged 65 to 74

The road to retirement

Americans retired early for many reasons during the Covid crisis, in part because they lost their jobs, feared for their health, or had to take care of family members.

Another factor was the boom in the value of assets such as investment and real estate, which allowed some Americans to stop working earlier than they had expected.

The average net worth increased by 12% and 14.8% among families with a household head aged 55 to 69 and 70 and older, respectively, Fed researchers found.

Unlike in other developed countries, retirement is not necessarily a permanent shift in the United States. It is not uncommon for Americans to “resign” and return to the labor market because of financial difficulties or personal choices.

The Covid retirement boom has changed this dynamic. Many retirees have not been affected to return due to pandemic-related health risks, according to research from the Kansas City Fed.

“We find that the current increase is mainly driven by a decline in the number of retirees returning to the workforce,” Jun Nie and Shu-Kuei X Yang, economists at the regional Fed Bank, wrote in a report last year.

“Even if monthly transitions from retirement to employment return to their average pace in 2018-19, it will take more than two years to fully settle the recent increase in pension share,” they wrote in August last year.

Their analysis was performed before the arrival of the omicron variant, which has proven more contagious than previous waves and could further deter retirees from returning to the workforce.

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