Business is booming.

Industries With the Highest Share of 65 and Older Workers

  • As the cost of retirement rises, many Americans will work later in life than previously planned.
  • One analysis put the cost of a comfortable retirement near $3 million.
  • Funeral homes and fishing are among the 10 industries with the highest share of older workers.

Many Americans were already facing a retirement crisis before inflation and plunging 401(k)s made the problem worse. It could force many of them to work later in life than they had otherwise planned.  

“The rise in the cost of living has most of the US expecting to be working past the age of retirement,” according to a Better Benefits Guide analysis on older Americans in the workforce. 

A survey for Nationwide Retirement Institute conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence also suggests some older workers may have to consider delaying their retirement plans. According to an infographic about the results, 40% “of older American employees are now expecting to retire later than originally planned due to inflation or rising living costs” and almost three-quarters of those people expecting this “are worried they won’t have enough income in retirement.” 

While $1 million is often cited as the minimum amount Americans need to retire, a recent Wealthcare Financial analysis put the number at closer to $3 million. 

The rising cost of retirement could mean at least 60% of boomers will enter retirement age without sufficient savings, Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff previously told Insider. As of 2017, roughly half of all retirement-age Americans had no personal retirement savings, per a Census Bureau report, and the recent increases to Social Security checks won’t solve this. 

And Kotlikoff said there’s “every reason to think the situation will get worse for those behind the boomers.” 

“If Gen Z’s don’t save, however, they will end up like Baby Boomers, showing up in retirement with only enough savings, at the median, to cover median spending for three years,” Kotlikoff said, pointing to various analyses on savings and spending during retirement.

In 2021, the average US retirement age was 65 for men and 62 for women, according to Boston College research. But there were 10.1 million Americans aged 65 and over still working — accounting for roughly 7% of the total workforce. As Americans continue living longer and struggle to accumulate retirement savings, the 65-and-older share of the workforce is likely to rise further.

The following are the 10 industries with the highest share of people that were aged 65 and over as of 2021, based on an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from Better Benefits Guide. We focused on smaller, more detailed, industries rather than also including the larger sector-wide groupings that Better Benefits Guide used in its analysis.

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