A snapshot of retirement-aged American workers

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In the campaigning leading up to the presidential election, both candidates spent time discussing the needs of an aging population and the future that’s in store for young Americans. We’re living longer, and that means the number of older Americans is growing and will continue to for the coming generations.

Combine this aging population with the difficult economy, and you have a population that no longer exits the workforce as soon as they reach their 65th birthday.  Recently, Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. looked at the situation of workers 65 years and older in order to see what their professional situation is like, and they found a group of workers that is steadily growing. In 2001, workers 65-plus were 4 percent of the workforce; in 2012 these workers are 4.7 percent of the workforce. Based on EMSI’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators, here’s a snapshot of today’s retirement-aged workforce:

Fastest-aging fields
One way to understand where these older workers are is to see which occupations have the largest proportion of workers 65 or older and how quickly they are growing. Here are the 10 fastest-aging occupations and the growth of 65-plus workers in the past four years:

1. Tax preparers
Workers 65-plus: 27.2 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2.5 percent

2. Ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers
Workers 65-plus: 19.9 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2.2 percent

3. Costume attendants
Workers 65-plus: 15.2 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2 percent

4. Entertainment attendants and related workers (all other)
Workers 65-plus: 18 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1.8 percent

5. Woodworkers (all other)
Workers 65-plus: 10.4 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1.5 percent

6. Architects (except landscape and naval)
Workers 65-plus: 10 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1 percent

7. Farm products buyers and purchasing agents
Workers 65-plus: 15 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent

8. Reporters and correspondents
Workers 65-plus: 8.7 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent

9. Industrial-organizational psychologists
Workers 65-plus: 6.7 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent

10. Locker room, coatroom and dressing room attendants
Workers 65-plus: 10.1 percent
2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent

Jobs with the highest proportion of retirement-aged workers
Although the 10 aforementioned occupations have the fastest-aging workforce, they don’t necessarily have the most 65-plus workers. Here are the eight occupations with the highest percentage of workers 65 years and older:

1. Embalmers
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 83.5 percent

2. Funeral attendants
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 78.9 percent

3. Motor vehicle operators (all other)
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 54 percent

4. Crossing guards
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 36.6 percent

5. Music directors and composers
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 35.8 percent

6. Models
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 35.3 percent

7. Clergy
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 34.9 percent

8. Religious workers (all other)
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 34.8 percent

Where the workers are
Workers might dream of the day they retire and head off to a sunny beach, but right now they’re staying where their paychecks are.

The five states with the highest proportion of 65-plus workers:

1. South Dakota
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.9 percent

2. Kansas
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.6 percent

3. New Jersey
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.6 percent

4. Connecticut
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.5 percent

5. Florida
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.5 percent

The five states with the lowest proportion of 65-plus workers:

1. Alaska
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 2.9 percent

2. Utah
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.6 percent

3. Georgia
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.9 percent

4. Michigan
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.9 percent

5. Idaho
Percentage of 65-plus workers: 4.2 percent

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