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Labor Force Participation

Monday, March 26, 2018

American Consumer Newsletter
by Cheryl Russell

For Men, Age of Retirement Is 65

A look at the labor force participation of older men by single year of age reveals the exact age when retirement becomes the norm – when the percentage of men in the labor force drops below 50%. That age was 65 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – one year later than in 2010 as a growing share of Baby-boom men delay retirement.

Percent of Men in the Labor Force, 2017
Age 60: 69.8
Age 61: 68.0
Age 62: 62.5
Age 63: 57.0
Age 64: 53.1
Age 65: 44.7 (age of retirement)
Age 66: 41.9
Age 67: 36.3
Age 68: 32.1
Age 69: 29.3
Age 70: 26.6

Since 2010, the labor force participation rate of men ranging in age from 61 through 66 increased by two to three percentage points. At that rate of increase, it will take over a decade before more than 50% of men aged 65 are in the labor force and the age of retirement rises to 66.   

For Women, Age of Retirement Is 63

Baby-boom women are delaying retirement. A look at the labor force participation rate of older women by single year of age shows when labor force participation drops below 50% and retirement becomes the norm. For women, that age was 63 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – two years younger than men. The earlier age of retirement for women makes sense, since most are married to men who are slightly older.

Percent of Women in the Labor Force, 2017
Age 60: 59.9
Age 61: 55.8
Age 62: 50.4
Age 63: 47.2 (age of retirement)
Age 64: 40.5
Age 65: 34.1
Age 66: 32.0
Age 67: 28.4
Age 68: 22.8
Age 69: 21.5
Age 70: 19.0

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