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EBRI Says Women Growing Part Of Older Work Force

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As the labor-force participation rate increases for those age 55 and over, a new study has found that women make up the majority of the labor force for older workers.

Researchers at the Employee Benefit Research Institute have published the new statistics in its report “Labor Force Participation: The Population Age 55 and Older,” concluding that labor force participation for ages 55-64 is being driven almost exclusively by the increase of women in the work force. The data was compiled from the recent U.S. Census Bureau data on labor-force participation among older Americans as well as annualized data on labor-force participation from the Current Population Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since 1993, labor-force participation has steadily increased with 38% of the 55 and over population participating in the work force in 2006. The percentage of women in the work force also reached its highest point in 2006 with 32.3% working, researchers found.

According to the report, women account for the continuing increase of labor-force participation rates for those 55 and older from 1973 to 2006, even as male labor-force participation rates were lower in 2006 than in 1975.

In 1987, 26.8% of women participated in the civilian labor force, EBRI found. This percentage increased to 34.5% in 2005. Male civilian labor-force participation for Americans age 55 and older was 46.8% in 1987 and rose to only 48.7% in 2005 after an all-time low of 43.6% in 1993.


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