Panel Paper: Older Workers’ Labor Market Experiences Before, During and After the Great Recession

Saturday, November 5, 2016 : 4:10 PM
Jay (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Neha Nanda1, Stephen Wandner2, Yang Chen1 and Luke Patterson1, (1)IMPAQ International, LLC, (2)Urban Institute

Late in the past decade, the Great Recession hit the economy, a period of drastic decline in economic activity that led to large increases in unemployment rates and unemployment spell durations for workers of all ages. Older workers considering retirement in the last few years have faced a tough economic situation since the Great Recession, with a stubbornly sluggish recovery. Many older workers experienced unemployment and soaring duration of unemployment. Job loss, compensation reductions, declining home values, investment losses, and high debt have undermined retirement plans and expectations.

A 2012 report conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability office shows that “a hypothetical worker who had $70,000 in retirement savings at age 55 and withdrew 50 percent of those savings during a 2 year period of unemployment, would need another 5.5 years of work and savings to rebuild the retirement account to the level it had been before unemployment began.” As a result, many older workers plan to work longer, postpone retirement, or return to the labor force after retirement. These trends make it crucial to investigate the labor market consequences of the Great Recession and examine how this segment of the population fared before, during, and after the Great Recession.

This study, funded by U.S. Department of Labor, aims to gain a deeper understanding of older workers’ labor market experiences in the past decade, how these experiences differed from the prime-aged workers (individuals aged 40 to 50), and how they differ across gender and different cohorts within the older workers’ population.