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Stuck on — or off — the treadmill

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Posted: 7 am ET

Are you feeling "trapped on the treadmill"? Or are you off the treadmill and eager to be back on?

A whopping 62 percent of workers between the ages of 45 and 60 say their retirement planning includes working longer than they previously thought they would, according to "Trapped on the worker treadmill," a report from The Conference Board, an independent business membership and research association. That's up 20 percentage points from the 42 percent who said the same thing in 2010.

This month's unemployment numbers suggest that people who have made the decision to keep working can do so -- as long as they are able to hold onto the jobs they have. But if an older worker loses his job, he will have a very hard time finding another.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest figures show that  the unemployment rate of workers older than 55 was a relatively low 5.8 percent -- almost 2 percentage points lower than the 7.7 percent overall unemployment rate. But workers age 55 and older were on average unemployed and job hunting for 44.9 weeks, compared to 34.3 weeks for workers under age 55.

Intuitively, unemployment among people old enough to choose retirement instead doesn't seem like such a bad thing because it would ostensibly open up opportunities for younger workers. But further analysis of employment numbers by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests that keeping older people working means they have more money to spend and that encourages employers to hire more workers. The researchers concluded, "Greater labor force participation of older workers is associated with greater youth employment and reduced youth unemployment."

If you're among those looking for work, the National Council on Aging is partnering with, a website that aggregates job opportunities, to provide information and training for older job hunters. The service will launch initially in New Jersey, New York, San Francisco and Virginia.

Another tip comes from Bill Ellermeyer, who calls himself a "career transition consultant." Ellermeyer says, "Stop thinking that a traditional job is the only answer. Maybe it's time to consider starting your own business built around your area of expertise."

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April 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm

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Duane Rothermel
April 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

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