Retired workers ‘retire’ as vaccination rate rises, wages rise: Report

  • Some retired workers are returning to work as vaccination rates rise, a researcher told MarketWatch.
  • Higher wages and more job opportunities are pulling retirees back, the researcher said.
  • Over 2.5% of retired workers “retired” last month, according to data from the researcher and the US Census Bureau.

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More retirees are returning to the workforce as vaccination rates continue to rise and employers increase wages amid labor shortages, an economic researcher told MarketWatch on Monday.

More than 2.5% of retired workers in the United States went back to work in October, Nick Bunker, director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, told MarketWatch. That was the highest number so far during the pandemic, he said, according to his analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The demand for labor has intensified as a record number of American workers resign, many in search of higher wages, more benefits and better working conditions. In response, companies with short staff raise salaries to attract staff.

A wider range of jobs and bigger paychecks are now pulling retirees, Bunker told MarketWatch.

“Now that the job market is stronger, more people who said they were retired are being lured by stronger wages and more job opportunities,” he said.

Higher vaccination rates in the U.S. have also contributed to retirees returning to the workforce, Bunker told MarketWatch. Fears of catching COVID-19 were among the factors that contributed to about 3 million workers choosing to retire early during the pandemic, MarketWatch reported.

About 195.3 million people in the United States, equivalent to about 59% of the population, are now fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is an increase from August, when CDC data showed that just over half of the US population – about 165 million people – were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Goldman Sachs found that 5 million people left the workforce during the pandemic, according to a Friday note from the company’s researchers. About 2.5 million of these people retired – 1.5 million of them were early retirees, the memo said.

This has left huge gaps in the US workforce. Employers struggling for staff have resorted to raising wages to attract more employees, cut their working hours and close their dining rooms.

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