Seniors: Labor Force

Senior Citizens 65 or older in the Labor Force
Senior Citizens 65 or older in the Labor Force  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Seniors Feeling Vulnerable with Projected COLA Results
Published Thursday, May 21st, 2009

In the last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) is projected to not increase Social Security benefits in the coming years. There has been an increase in benefits every year for 30 years. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the E-CPI (Experimental-Consumer Price Index) weights medical care and shelter more heavily for those aged 62 and older. The regular CPI states that, in 25 years, inflation has risen 3%, yet the E-CPI has risen 3.3% for older Americans. According to the law, Social Security Benefits cannot outpace inflation except when prices fall. When deflation exists, the COLAs remain steady at zero and actually purchase power goes up. In 2008, the rise of energy prices resulted in a 5.8% COLA to compensate in 2009, yet the energy prices dropped and the CBO projects inflation will be below 2008 levels for some years. However, many older Americans believe that no COLA means they are left behind and will suffer.

Poverty for older adults as of 2007 has reduced from a decade ago, yet the disparity between males and females still exist as females are twice more likely to experience poverty than males. Yet, those houses with elderly present have begun to rely more on the food stamp program in recent years. Plus, the retirement rate has slowed and more elderly are reentering the workforce. This comes as Social Security Benefits have steadily risen, especially with the recent rise in energy prices. On the medical side, life expectancy has risen; the percentage of those who take prescriptions is up 13.7%; many more are enrolling in the Medicare program; and expenditures for nurses and retirement homes have risen to $138 billion.

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Increasing Social Security Benefits
Published Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The amount of Social Security benefits will have a Cost-of-Living Adjustment in 2009 with a 5.8% increase, the biggest adjustment in 25 years. The average retiree will see an increase of $68 to $1153. With benefits increasing so does the Annual Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts to $14,160 which amounts to $600 more a senior can earn after the Normal Retirement Age and still receive benefits before the Full Retirement Age (For baby boomers turning 62 in 2009, full retirement age is 66.)

The Office of Personnel Management states that the Retirement Rate of the population has increased from 3.5% in 2006 to 3.75% in 2008, the rolls of the beneficiaries of Social Security are surely increasing. Accordingly, one-third of all retirees live solely on their benefits from Social Security and the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 39% of retirees have stated that they will outlive their savings. With these increases, we are seeing the graying of the work force as more and more retirees are going back to work to make ends meet. The adjustment of the benefits, which those depending significantly on Social Security need, will increase the Social Security Taxes next year. Yet with five years till most of the baby boomers reach Full Retirement Age we must expect a steady increase in the Social Security Tax or at least up the taxable Income limit beyond the $106,800 set for 2009.

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Learn More

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Current Population Survey, Older Workers - http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2008/older_workers/
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides a comprehensive body of data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, and persons not in the labor force.

Take Action

U.S. Department of Labor: The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) - http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/training/seniors.htm
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a part-time employment program for low-income persons age 55 or over. They may also receive training, and can use their participation as a bridge to other employment positions which are not supported with federal funds.