The choices of older workers will have a lot of influence on U.S. growth in coming years. The population is aging, and that usually reduces growth. But last year there was a break in a long trend. Older Americans didn’t retire at the same rate as in recent years. Maybe it’s a blip. But maybe more senior Americans will decide they want or need to continue working, and employers will keep them on the job. If so, that could increase growth above what would otherwise occur.
“It’s possible to have policy that encourages people to work longer,” said Matthew Rutledge, a research economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “It’s pretty clear that people do have to work longer. It’s something that they seem capable of doing.”
Even as workers retire at a later age than previous generations, they report wanting to stay on the job even longer than they’re managing. About 60 percent of retirees in a 2016 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey reported retiring earlier than they had planned, while just 7 percent reported retiring later.