Recession Increased Retirement Delays

May 19, 2011 ( – New research from The Conference Board reveals that the 2008-2009 economic recession has increased pressure on individuals to delay retirement.

Using data from its Consumer Confidence Survey, The Conference Board found only 33% of those whose household experienced no asset or labor loss from the recession said they or a member of their household is planning to delay retirement, compared to 44% who suffered an asset loss and 55% who suffered a labor loss. Nearly seven-in-ten respondents (68%) reporting both an asset and labor loss during the recession indicated they or a member of their household is planning to delay retirement.  

According to the research, the health industry experienced the largest decline in retirement rates post-recession. In 2009-2010, only 1.55% of full-time workers aged 55-64 retired within 12 months, compared with almost 4% in 2004-2007.    

The construction industry also experienced a large decline in retirement rates. This is likely the result of a long slump in the industry, which resulted in many laid-off workers trying to stay in the labor force to make up for lost income.    

There was essentially no retirement delay among government workers. The Conference Board said that is expected, since these workers are more likely to receive defined benefits, making them more insulated from the decline in financial asset values in their pensions.    

Mature workers in high-paying occupations were much more likely to delay retirement than workers in low-paying ones. The Conference Board reasoned that those in higher-paying jobs tend to have higher financial expectations for their retirement years. Also, high-paying occupations tend to have limited physical requirements, making it easier to continue working.   

Among lower-paid workers, there is often an increased physical demand, and unemployment rates tend to be much higher. As a result, even if those workers wanted to continue working, finding replacement jobs is often extremely difficult, forcing them to retire.   

The report, U.S. Workers Delaying Retirement: What Businesses Can Learn from the Trends of Who, Where and Why, can be found at