The January 2015 employment report issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1.41 million workers over age 55 were ready to work and actively seeking a job - but could not find one.
Unfortunately, this represents an increase in unemployment for older workers - the opposite of declining rates of unemployment in the overall labor market. January's unemployment rate for older workers is 4.1%, up from 3.9% in December. This increase represents an additional 60,000 older, unemployed workers.
Increased competition among older workers in the job market fuels the decline in older workers' bargaining power and a subsequent decrease in retirement benefits available in the workplace, such as employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Today's employment report is a warning for policy makers calling for a rise in Social Security's retirement age. Rising unemployment rates for workers over 55 shows the labor market is unlikely to be able to absorb an increase in older workers who cannot afford to retire when they choose.