More elderly Americans are working than at any point in the past 50 years, as the fallout from the financial crisis forces people to postpone retirement.
That’s good news, in a sense, for the country. Since people don’t feel they can safely retire, they postpone collecting Social Security. But as the L.A. Times points out, it’s bad news too — and not just for people who have had to give up their dreams of a retirement filled with golf, visits with the grandkids and volunteering at church.
Having more older workers in the job market helps the country’s precarious fiscal situation; by working, they’re paying Social Security and other taxes rather than drawing public retirement and Medicare funds. The share of seniors claiming Social Security benefits fell last year to the lowest level since 1976.
But there is a trade-off: In this lackluster economy, the increasing employment of seniors means fewer jobs for their younger counterparts. Apart from the direct financial hit to individuals, the shift represents a big collective loss of purchasing power.