The recession slowed but did not stop the trend of older U.S. residents staying in the workforce longer.

Craig Copeland, a researcher at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Washington, comes to that conclusion in an analysis of Census Bureau labor market data.

The percentage of civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. residents who were in the labor force fell to 29% in 1993, from 35% in 1975. Older workers’ labor market participation rate then started to rise and increased to 40% in 2010.

For workers ages 65 and older, the participation rate increased to 17%, from 14%.

The increase in older worker participation rates was lower in the recession year of 2010 than in some previous years, and the participation rate for workers ages 70 to 74 fell slightly that year, but the overall participation rate for workers ages 55 and older continued to increase in 2010, Copeland found.

- Allison Bell