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.

My new Huffington Post blog analyzes Obama's policies announced in his recent State of the Union address. I get it - it's hard to be a President. And capping tax breaks for the rich is a big step towards progressive taxation, but a baby step towards retirement security.

bookThe January issue of the Retirement Income Journal features my review of "Falling Short," the new book about America's retirement crisis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. While the book is an elegant and comprehensive description of the problems causing the crisis, I must disagree with the proposed solution: working longer and retiring later.

older workersThe December 2014 employment report issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor reports the unemployment rate for workers over the age of 55 - those looking for work - at 3.9%. More than 1.35 million workers over age 55 were pounding the pavement looking for a job.

These figures mark a decline in the unemployment rate of older workers from 4.5% in November, when more there were 1.53 million workers over age 55 in search of work. However, the proportion of older workers with jobs did not change; the employment-to-population ratio remained at 38.3%.

Rather than signaling that a significant number of unemployed workers found work, the decline in the unemployment rate for older workers may be due to the fact that 112,000 workers over age 55 left the labor force in December.

SCEPA research has found that older people who lose their jobs are at a higher risk of remaining unemployed and withdrawing permanently from the labor force. This involuntary early retirement leaves older workers at risk of poverty as well as a loss of health insurance years before they are eligible for Social Security benefits. SCEPA estimates this costs the government between $10.5 and $9.4 billion per year in income, food and health support. 

Getting Older panelOn Tuesday, December 2014, New America NYC hosted a panel discussion titled, "Getting Older: How We're Coping with Working and Living Longer." The event discussed what it means when retirement increasingly demands re-entering the labor market as a downwardly mobile senior citizen.

I was excited to share the panel with Ngina Chiteji of New York University, Chip Castille of U.S. Retirement Group, BlackRock, Marci Alboher of Encore.org and Carol Hymowitz of Bloomberg News. 

Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmore College published the audio of a talk I delivered earlier this year as part of their annual Frank Pierson Lecture, "Do the Old Eat the Young?: The False Tradeoff Between Funding for the Young and the Old." In it, I discuss Social Security and pension funding to generate critical thinking about who, why, and when "inter-generational equity" is evoked in political economy debate.

Connecticut Workers are Losing Access to Retirement PlansOn November 19, 2014, Director Teresa Ghilarducci presented SCEPA's latest research on the Declining Access to Retirement Plans in Connecticut at the Connecticut Retirement Security​ ​Boardmeeting​. Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly created the Connecticut Retirement Security Board through the Public Act 14-217 to conduct a feasibility study on a state-level public IRA. If approved, the state-level IRA would create an automatic IRA administered through an appointed trust fund board, as in California. Employers with five or more workers would be required to participate unless they offer a different retirement savings plan to their employees. Unlike most IRAs bought in the private market, the money would be paid out as a lifetime annuity with an option for workers to select a lump-sum, helping to ensure that people will not outlive their assets while preserving worker's ability to choose the option best suited to their financial needs. Finally, a modest guarantee and low fees would protect the money saved by hard-working employees.Decline of Sponsorship in Connecticut Impacts All Age Groups

The latest SCEPA research shows that Connecticut is in need of a solution to their pending retirement crisis. As of 2010, only 59% of employed Connecticut residents aged 25-64 worked for an employer who offered access to a retirement savings plan, down from 66% in 2000. Four out of ten workers residing in Connecticut do not have access to a retirement plan at work. What could be considered the most detrimental is that workers closest to retirement​ (55-64) had the largest drop in sponsorship, 15 percent, among all age groups surveyed.