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AARP Bulletin Survey on Employment Status of the 45+ Population: Executive Summary

AARP recently commissioned a nationwide survey to determine the employment status of people 45 years or older. The survey examined whether people in this age group had lost jobs or sought new employment over the last 12 months. It also asked them if they had uncertainty about keeping their current jobs.

About one-quarter of the 45+ population reported already being retired. The largest concentration of retirees was in the 65+ age group, with over half (56%) reporting being retired.

Survey findings include:

  • Seventeen percent of respondents said they had postponed plans to retire. Twenty-seven percent of those in the age group approaching retirement age (ages 55-64) reported postponing plans to retire, and about one-fifth (19%) of this age group reported already being retired.
  • Fifteen percent of respondents said they looked for a new job because of uncertainty about their current employment. Twenty seven percent of those ages 45-54 looked for a new job because of uncertainty. In the age groups with fewer people employed (those ages 55-64 and 65+), fewer respondents reported looking for new jobs because of uncertainty about their current employment.
  • Sixteen percent of respondents in the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups reported having lost a job during the past 12 months. Of those, 28% of those ages 45-54 and 30% of those ages 55-64 reported finding another job after having lost a job.
  • Twenty two percent of those ages 45-54 felt it was at least “somewhat likely” that their job could be eliminated within the next year. One-quarter (25%) of this group reported not working or already being retired, which means job insecurity is even higher among those who could conceivably experience job loss. In considering only those at risk for losing their jobs, thirty percent of those ages 45-54 felt it was “at least somewhat likely” that their jobs could be eliminated in the next 12 months.

The study was conducted for AARP via telephone by ICR, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted from May 1 to May 7, 2009, among a nationally representative sample of 767 respondents aged 45 and older. A total of 219 respondents were aged 45-54, 234 were aged 55-64, and 314 were aged 65 and older. For additional information, contact Gerard Rainville at 202-434-6295. (5 pages)