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A Profile of Older Americans: 2007


In 2006, 5.5 million (15.4 %) Americans age 65 and over were in the labor force (working or actively seeking work), including 3.1 million men (20.3%) and 2.4 million women (11.7%). They constituted 3.6% of the U.S. labor force. About 2.9% were unemployed.  Labor force participation of men 65+ decreased steadily from 2 of 3 in 1900 to 15.8% in 1985, and has stayed at 16%-18% since then. The participation rate for women 65+ rose slightly from 1 of 12 in 1900 to 10.8% in 1956, fell to 7.3% in 1985, and has been around 8%-10% starting in 1988.  However, during the past decade, labor force participation has been gradually rising to the 2006 levels.  This increase is especially noticeable among the population aged 65-69.

(Source: Current Population Survey, labor force statistics. See: Bureau of Labor Statistics web-site:

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AoA - Statistics - A Profile of Older Americans 2007 - Education