The study by the Pew Research Center, an independent research group, highlights a rapidly graying labour market due to longer life spans, an aging baby boomer population and a souring economy that has made it harder to retire.
Pew's survey and analysis of government data, being released today, found the share of Americans ages 55 and older who have or were seeking a job rose to 40 percent this year, the highest level since 1961. In contrast, people 16 to 24 who were active in the labor market decreased to 57 percent, down from 66 percent in 2000.
Asked to identify why they're working, 54 percent of older workers responded that it was mostly because they wanted to, citing a desire while they were still feeling healthy to be productive, interact with other people or to "give myself something to do." A sizable number of them — nearly 4 in 10 — also acknowledged staying put at work partly because of the recession.