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Bobby Ghosh

Older Americans Are Not Actually Quitting Their Jobs

Data suggesting lower labor participation by the 55-plus cohort is deceptive.

Where are the olds?

Where are the olds?

Photographer: Gabriela Bhaskar/Bloomberg

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Amid reports of Americans returning to work after the Covid hiatus, a trope has taken hold that older people are lagging behind. This stems from August data showing the labor-force participation rate for the 55-plus cohort was near its lowest level in 15 years. But Justin Fox, like me a member of that cohort, has run the rule over the numbers, and it turns out they’re deceptive.