Older U.S. residents were more likely to be working or looking for work in 2003 than they were in 2002.[@@]
When Sara Rix, a researcher at the AARP Public Policy Institute, Washington, analyzed the latest figures on employed and unemployed members of the U.S. labor force from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, she found that the participation rate for workers who were at least 55 increased to 35.7%, from 34.5% in 2002.
The growth rate was faster for workers ages 65 and over, Rix writes in a report on the analysis.
The participation rate increased to 27.4%, from 26.1%, for workers ages 65 to 69; to 14.6%, from 14%, for workers ages 70 to 74; and to 5.8%, from 5.1%, for workers ages 75 and over.
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The gain was most dramatic for women ages 65 to 69. Their labor participation rate jumped to 22.7%, from 20.8%.
The increase in older workers’ participation in the labor force emerged even as a weak economy cut the participation rate for workers under 55 to 78.2%, from 78.7%.