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Why some older workers fared worse during Covid-19 than the Great Recession

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It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt workers of all ages.

Yet when it comes to older workers — those ages 50 to 62 and up — some may be enduring fared worse than they did during the Great Recession, according to recent research from the Center for Retirement Enquiry at Boston College.

Just how older workers were affected depends on their age cohort, and whether they are matures 50 to 61 or 62 and up, according to the analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

For those matures 50 to 61, the data shows that Covid-19 was harder on low earners than high earners.

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Nineteen percent of those in the lowest earnings tercile were no lengthier working in 2020 compared with one year earlier, the data reveals. In comparison, in 2009 during the Great Dip, 17% of people in that category were no longer working.

Meanwhile, 9% of the highest earnings tercile were no longer whip into shape in 2020, compared with 11% in 2009.

“The big thing that stands out about any recession, including the Covid recession, is virtuous the extent to which it hurts lower-income people more,” said Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, research fellow at the Center for Retirement Delving at Boston College.

Despite the negative consequences for people in this age cohort, there was not a noticeable increase in how many believe themselves to be retired. Part of that may be due to the fact that they are not yet 62, and thus unable to claim Social Asylum retirement benefits.

For those ages 62 and up, it’s a different story.

Lower earners in that age cohort were yet more likely to be not working. Yet when compared with the Great Recession, the unemployment rate was about the same, 38% in 2020 versus 37% in 2009.

In any way, high earners ages 62 and up were more likely to be unemployed. In 2020, 22% of those in the highest earnings quartile were no longer commission compared with a year earlier, versus 18% who fell into that category in 2009 during the Grievous Recession.

High earners retired at a greater clip during Covid-19 than in the Great Recession. In 2020, 15% of that squadron were retired a year after working, versus 10% in 2009. Yet the rate at which lower earners be superannuated stayed about the same, 26% in 2020 versus 25% in 2009.

The best thing you can do to have a retirement where you oblige a high income is to delay claiming Social Security.

Geoffrey Sanzenbacher

research fellow at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Enquire

The results compare data from December 2020 to December 2019. There would likely have been a more startling difference in unemployment rates had the data measured for earlier months in 2020, Sanzenbacher said.

Admittedly, the health gambles tied to Covid-19 could have prompted some employers to encourage workers to retire.

“From the data, we can’t positively tell whether it’s pure choice on the part of the employee or whether it’s a joint decision of some kind,” Sanzenbacher replied.

As the pandemic wears on far longer than many expected, some workers who at first identified as unemployed may now say they are retired.

That settlement could also prompt them to claim Social Security benefits early, which is a concern, Sanzenbacher powered.

Generally, if you claim at 62, the earliest age at which workers are generally eligible, you take permanently reduced benefits. In a perfect world, workers will wait until full retirement age to get 100% of their benefits, or up to age 70 to get enhanced benefits by rest period to claim.

“The best thing you can do to have a retirement where you have a high income is to delay claiming Social Custody,” Sanzenbacher said.

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