Saturday, July 7, 2018

What Kind of Work Do People Who Are Still Working After They Are Over 85 Do?

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Seventy may be the new 60, and 80 may be the new 70, but 85 is still pretty old to work. Yet in some ways, this is the era of the very old worker in America.

Overall, 255,000 Americans 85 years old and over were working over the last 12 months. That's 4.4% of Americans that age — up from 2.6% in 2006, before the recession. It's the highest number on record.

They're doing all sorts of jobs — they’re crossing guards, farmers and ranchers. There are between 1,000 and 3,000 U.S. truckers age 85 or older, based on 2016 Census Bureau figures. Their ranks have roughly doubled since the Great Recession...
Most of the oldest workers are concentrated in just 26 of the 455 occupations tracked by the Census Bureau data...
Workers 85 and older are more common in less physical industries, such as management and sales, than they are in demanding ones such as manufacturing and construction.

Nobody questions whether older workers can make a difference. Some of America's most prominent workers are around 85. The oldest Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is 85. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is 87. So are billionaire investors George Soros and Warren Buffett and Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison.

For a more nuanced picture, we can consider the specific occupations in which any given worker is likeliest to be in the 85-plus group. To enable detailed analysis on such a small population, we aggregated census data from 2001 to 2016.

Crossing guards are relatively likely to be 85 or older. The same goes for musicians, anyone who works in a funeral home, and product demonstrators like those you might find at a warehouse club store...
By sheer numbers, the top job among people 85 and older is in the “farmers and ranchers” category. It's also the one in which the distribution of older workers is most different from the distribution of the rest of the population. That category, which is distinct from farm laborers, houses 3.5% of the oldest workers — but just 0.5% of the rest of the population.


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