AARP older workers

An AARP report released in January 2021 said data from 1983 to 2016 found that higher minimum wages increased earnings and encouraged some people ages 62 to 70 to keep working.

About half the Coloradans older than 50 who responded to a new survey said they are looking for work because of the pandemic.

About half of those looking for a job are interested in changing their line of work.

That tracks, as unemployment for older workers across the country nearly doubled from February last year to this year, according to the ageism-fighting nonprofit Changing the Narrative, a Colorado-based campaign against ageism in the workplace.

While many workers have felt the impacts COVID-19 has had on the economy, those getting close to retirement have felt it more, the survey suggests.

More than 1,200 Coloradans from 60 of the state's 64 counties responded. More details are available by clicking here.

“Our intent is that this report will be used to help inform programming and shape policies designed to assist people age 50-plus gain access to meaningful work that fully uses their talents and abilities,” Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative, said in a statement Tuesday morning. “As the economy begins to return to normal, people will be seeking work and needing resources to do so.

"Now that we better understand the common characteristics, experiences and needs of adults age 50+ impacted by COVID-19, we can inform employers, the state, local counties, workforce development centers and nonprofits as they design solutions and programs that will help people age 50+ get back to work, benefitting older adults, employers and Colorado’s economy."

She said the survey information could help inform decisions to make a difference against workplace discrimination affecting older workers.

Survey takers said they hope to stay on the job to cover their daily bills (78%), boost retirement savings (76%), have purpose through work (74%) and maintain “security against uncertainty” (70%).

The trend is one policymakers should be watching, Vanderburg said.

"Given the demographic shifts of declining birthrates and extended life spans, employers will need and want to tap the talent and expertise of every generation,” she stated. “We have an opportunity as a state to lead in re-envisioning what the workforce and our talent pipelines can look like to strengthen our economy now and into the future.”

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