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Percentage of employees over 65 has been increasing

Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio

The percentage of employees over age 65 has been increasing over the past decade, according to a recent Census report.

The percentage of older workers in Wisconsin is on par with the national average, between 15 and 16 percent. It's higher in states like the Dakotas, Vermont and New Hampshire for instance, where 19 percent of the workforce is older.

Jim Flaherty is spokesman for AARP Wisconsin. He says older people now can work longer due to better health and less rigorous jobs. On the other hand, many need to work longer to shore up finances for retirement.

“The average annual benefit for social security is only $15,400 a year,” said Flaherty. “It was never meant to be the entire retirement nest egg. It was just meant to be a part of it … So a lot of folks are working at least part time.”

The Census report says post-retirement jobs tend to be part-time and are less demanding occupations. Flaherty says this appears to hold true in Wisconsin.

“Folks are going back to work,” said Flaherty. “A lot of times they are rediscovering a second career. They are doing something fun that they've always wanted to do and making some money at it.”

The report said nearly half of workers age 70 and older work part time.

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