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New Normal: Older Americans Work Past Retirement

Nearly one in five Americans older than 65 is still working. (Michael Gallacher/flickr)
Nearly one in five Americans older than 65 is still working. (Michael Gallacher/flickr)
August 8, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nearly 1 in 5 Americans in his or her golden years is still working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Twenty years ago, about one in eight Americans older than 65 was working.

Adam Davis, founder of DHM Research in Portland, has surveyed the older population on the desire to keep working, and he says longer, healthier lives are important factors.

"They like to work, and very important to that is that work returns some benefits, especially with respect to not only their physical health – keep them active – but their emotional and mental health as well," he explains.

Davis says that working longer also gives people extra cash, providing another source of income beyond Social Security benefits.

And he adds there are other motivations to staying in the workforce besides health and added income.

"I find some older folks feeling really interested in contributing back and mentoring, and being in the workforce gives you those kinds of opportunities," he explains.

Saleem Noorani owns Cork and Bottle Shoppe in Corvallis and Springfield. He says the manager of his Corvallis store, who is 70, moved to Oregon after losing his job in the Great Recession and has added a lot to Noorani's business.

"He had a difficult time finding a job and when I first interviewed him, I immediately hired him on the spot because he had such great skill sets and work ethic that generally older people do, and that is just from the accumulation of working,” Noorani relates. “You develop certain work ethics that you take through your whole life."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR