The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the American workforce, especially those 50 and older. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, workers have left their jobs in record numbers in what is being called “The Great Resignation.”
In November alone, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs — the highest monthly total since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking those figures in 2000.
In January, AARP surveyed Americans 50 and older to find out why this is happening. Respondents cited lots of different reasons.
Many who retired recently said they had no plans to reconsider. About 7percent of respondents said they had taken a different job, while 6 percent are now working independently — as Uber or food delivery drivers, selling things made at home, and so on.
This retirement wave has taken a toll on the American economy, but job losses also affected the ability of individuals and families to meet their day-to-day financial needs. In the weeks since AARP's January survey, news reports have suggested that the stress of higher housing, gas and food prices, along with potential of this level of inflation continuing, are causing even those who had no plans to return to the workforce to rethink.
The good news is that these workers are in demand. More employers are bringing work teams back into the office and stepping up hiring. And older workers have an edge. A separate AARP research report issued in November found that three-fourths of employers want skills more than academic degrees. And employers are emphasizing values like professionalism, work ethic, leadership and problem-solving. Older workers have developed those characteristics over a lifetime on the job.