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America’s Aging Workforce

More older Americans want to work than ever before. There is no question that economic stresses have delayed retirement and driven older people to keep working. But there are other forces at work, and they’re part of a sustained change that’s been going on for more than 20 years.

Last week’s strong employment report showed that the jobless rate for all workers edged down to 7.8 percent last month. Some months, the jobless rate hardly tells the whole story. Discouraged job seekers leaving the workforce can actually drive down the stated jobless rate even though the economy was not getting stronger.

That didn’t happen last month. Jobs were up and so were the numbers of job seekers, yet the jobless rate fell. Including prior-month revisions and other data, it looks like the pace of job creation has picked up. Among workers age 55 and older, the unemployment rate last month was 5.9 percent. That’s unchanged from August but down steadily from 6.7 percent in September 2011…

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