‘Unretirement’: Older Americans Returning to the Workforce

Of all the topics highlighted in this blog and thoroughly covered by news media outlets in the past year or more, none seem to be more incendiary than inflation and its fallout. Inflation has been a hot-button issue since the beginning of 2022, and it’s not ceasing to draw any attention as the U.S (and the world) have experienced some of the highest inflation rates since the early 1980s. 

The U.S labor markets are intricately intertwined with inflation and global economic ebbs and flows. As we frequently covered in this blog, businesses have had to contend with a tight labor market and a lack of job seekers as the country comes back from the depths of the initial COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. 

High inflation rates due to global conflicts, crude oil stockpiling, and general supply chain shortages are beginning to force the Federal Reserve Bank’s hand to raise interest rates. The Fed’s intervention could slow down the employee-friendly, red-hot job market, but that is yet to be seen as of summer 2022. 

While there’s quite a bit of uncertainty for future job markets, we’re still in the midst of high demand for employees as employers suffer from staffing issues. An interesting new labor market has risen to seize the demand opportunity – retired Americans. 

Older Americans Are Returning to Work

The term “unretirement” is unfamiliar to most (except Tom Brady); however, current economic circumstances have forced many retired Americans in their 60s and 70s back into the workforce. With rising costs of living, steady inflation, and fear of draining their savings, older Americans are returning to work and seizing open job opportunities while they still are physically and mentally stable enough to do so. 

It will be years before economists, sociologists, and data scientists can reconcile all the data to create a complete picture of The Great Resignation, unretirement, and other labor market fallouts due to covid. But, we can determine this much so far. Many Americans who were near retirement decided to retire early as the pandemic hit and lockdown restrictions came into place. A substantial number of older workers are returning to the workforce for a few reasons. Many feel safe returning to work as there are now vaccines available, as they didn’t want to retire in the first place. But many others are forced to return to the workforce and unretire to make ends meet. 

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of people working at age 75+ will increase by 96.5%, nearly doubling by 2030. The only age demographic is expected to experience this kind of growth. Inflation, an ever-increasing cost of living, a competitive housing market, and insufficient savings are the primary factors driving this wave of unretirement. 

Unretirement – What Can Businesses Do to Help?

Returning to work is not easy for anyone after an extended leave of absence, especially for those older workers who thought they were finally exiting the workforce. Employers still need help, and if the “unretired” want to fill empty roles, they should be greeted with open arms. 

Employers can and should make efforts to accommodate those returning to the workforce at a late age and help make the transition as easy as possible. There’s an opportunity for employers to clearly state the accommodations they would be making for the unretired right within the online job post. These accommodations could include training, transportation aid, health benefit plans, etc. 

Jobiak has helped businesses of all sizes increase their online job post visibility for years, ensuring the right information is presented front and center to prospective employees.


Click the link to learn more about Jobiak’s proprietary recruitment technology.

unretirement, ‘Unretirement’: Older Americans Returning to the Workforce
job switchers