This paper uses the Current Population Survey to study older workers’ transitions out of employment and into retirement during the first year of the pandemic. We find that, among workers ages 55 to 79, the likelihood of leaving employment over the course of a year rose by 6.7 percentage points, a 43-percent increase over baseline. Workers without a college degree, Asian–Americans, those whose jobs were not amenable to social distancing, and part-time workers saw disproportionate impacts. In contrast, the likelihood of retiring increased by 1 percentage point, and there was no immediate retirement boom for full-time workers under 70.


Davis, Owen F., Laura D. Quinby, Matthew S. Rutledge and Gal Wettstein (2023). “How did COVID-19 affect the labor force participation of older workers in the first year of the pandemic?” Journal of Pension Economics and Finance Volume 22 (Issue 4): 509-523. .