The European crisis is making it difficult for workers to retire. The worst economic downturn in 70 years and increased retirement ages by governments trying to cut spending are inducing older workers to continue working.
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Some say that older workers are keeping younger workers from getting jobs. The unemployment rate for the young is as high as 20% in the European Union (EU).
The percentage of workers over age 55 rose in all 27 countries of the EU between 2000 and 2010. Countries are also reducing funding of state pension plans and discontinuing the indexation of pensions, causing them to fall behind inflation.
France virtually eliminated early-retirement options in 2003. Workers over age 55 increased to 49.6% in 2011 from 47.3% in 2008.
Older workers have had no choice but to stay in the work force, even as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis of three years is plunging the region into recession
The slow economy means older workers have to work longer for less money. Those out of work stay unemployed longer because of outdated skills and high salary needs.
Public sector jobs are also being cut in many countries. So, in Europe, if you lose your job after age 45, your career is basically over.
The US should take care to address its own long-term fiscal issues to avoid being lulled into a similar economic situation. We may already be closer than we may realize.