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Highlights of a GAO Forum: Engaging and Retaining Older Workers

GAO-07-438SP Published: Feb 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2007.
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In the future, older Americans are expected to be a larger share of the U.S. population, live longer, and spend more years in retirement than previous generations, and by 2025 labor force growth is expected to be less than a fifth of what it is today. Without major increases in productivity or immigration, low labor force growth will ultimately lead to slower economic and federal revenue growth. This in turn will accentuate the overall pressure on the federal budget, which will face increased claims for Medicare and Social Security benefits while relatively fewer workers pay into the benefits systems. Moreover, the possible loss of many experienced workers as the baby boomers retire could lead to further adverse effects. If older Americans were to remain in the labor force longer, it could ease some of the pressures on Social Security, supplement individual retirement incomes, and help finance health care. However, researchers have suggested that barriers may impede some older workers who want or need to work. GAO convened this forum to address the issues surrounding engaging and retaining older workers. Participants included experts representing employers, business and union groups, advocates, researchers, actuaries, and federal agencies. These highlights do not necessarily represent the views of any one participant or the organizations that these participants represent, including GAO.

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AccountabilityElderly personsEmployee retirement plansEmployeesEmployment discriminationFederal legislationLabor forceOlder workersPensionsRetirement ageSkilled laborSocial security benefitsStrategic planningSurveys