New York (CNN Business)One of the more insidious myths this year was that young people didn’t want to work because they were getting by just fine on government aid. People had too much money, went the narrative.
Only trouble is, the numbers don’t back it up.
Instead, early retirement — whether forced by the pandemic or made possible otherwise — is playing a big role in America’s evolving labor market.
People have left the workforce for myriad reasons in the past two years — layoffs, health insecurity, child care needs, and any number of personal issues that arose from the disruption caused by the pandemic. But among those who have left and are not able to — or don’t want to — return, the vast majority are older Americans who accelerated their retirement.
Earlier this month, ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson said the strong stock market along with soaring home prices “has given some higher income people options. We already saw a large portion of the Boomer workforce retiring. And they’re in a better position now.”
In assessing the jobs recovery, economists have pointed out that while the unemployment rate has come down, the labor force participation rate hasn’t improved at the same pace. But Jared Bernstein, a member of President Joe Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that once “non-prime age” workers — those over 55 — are excluded from the metrics a much clearer picture of how the labor recovery is doing emerges because it strips out the retirement narrative.