Californians Working Later In Life

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 6, 2009

Pattie Pardini-Barrett is 61 years old.  But she’s not planning to retire from her job as a marriage and family counselor in Butte County just yet:

 “My plan is to work until I’m 72.”

It’s partly a financial decision.  Pardini-Barrett’s husband has been in and out of work – plus she still has one child to put through college. But she says it’s also more than that:

 “It’s very fulfilling. It kind of enriches my life.”

Pardini-Barrett is one of a growing number of Californians working longer.  The new analysis by the California Budget Project finds
the number of working Californians age 55 to 69 went from about 55 percent to 63 percent between 1995 and last year.  That’s an eight percent jump.

“This is surprising because employment rates have fallen for many Californians during this downturn but not older Californians.”

Alissa Anderson is with the California Budget Project.  She says it’s a recent trend.  She says many older Californians need the extra money to make ends meet.  Anderson says one reason for the shift is a growing uncertainty about retirement income. 

“Today far fewer workers have job-based pension coverage compared with a generation ago and among those who do have pension coverage, far fewer have the kinds of pension plans that guarantee a fixed benefit during retirement.”

Anderson says the analysis also showed that the employment rate for women in that age group increased more than four times as much as that for men between 2007 and last year.  She says that corresponds to the recession – and men are more likely to be employed in financial or construction jobs, which have been hard hit.