Employment for those ages 55+ holds steady in November

Employment for those ages 55+ holds steady in November

Employment overview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) November Employment Situation Summary showed the economy added 228,000 jobs—down slightly from the 244,000 jobs added in October (revised down from 261,000). Both the overall unemployment rate and the unemployment rate for persons 55 and older remained unchanged from October at 4.1and 3.1 percent, respectively. The number of unemployed individuals ages 55+ was also unchanged at 1.1 million and the labor force participation rate for those 55 and older increased slightly to 39.9 percent in November from 39.8 percent in October. As in October, jobs were added in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. The percentage of jobseekers ages 55+ who are long-term unemployed, defined as looking for work for 27 or more weeks, increased from 34.7 percent to 37 percent.

Spotlight on Employment Projections to 2026

In October 2017, the BLS released its latest employment projections for 2016 to 2026. The data cover overall job growth, labor market demographics, and industry projections.  The overall employment forecast for the United States is an increase of 11.5 million workers in the decade leading up to 2026. This represents an increase from 156.1 million to 167.6 million workers, or 0.7 percent annual growth. The projected growth rate is faster than the 0.5 growth rate during the previous decade, which was strongly influenced by the effects of the Great Recession.

The demographics of the labor force are projected to grow more diverse and will be influenced by the overall aging of the population.

In 2026 the labor force participation rate is projected to decrease to 61.0 percent, down from 62.8 percent in 2016. The highest level of labor force participation, 67.1 percent, occurred in 2000. The aging population is forecast to lower overall labor force participation as more people exit the labor market. At the same time, however, the aging population will lead to greater numbers of older workers in the workforce.

The BLS predicts that the share of workers 55 and older will grow to 24.8 percent in 2026, an increase from 22.4 percent in 2016 and 16.8 percent in 2006. Slow labor force growth will also reflect, to some degree, a slowdown in the growth of the civilian non-institutional population. The annual rate of 0.9 percent population growth from 2016 to 2026 is slower than both the 1.0 percent growth from 2006 to 2016 and the 1.3 percent growth from 1996 to 2006.

New jobs will largely be in the service sector, accounting for approximately 9 out of 10 new jobs. As the population ages, health care and social assistance industries, as well as the occupations within these industries, are projected to make up a large proportion of the jobs created in the years leading up to 2026. Nearly 4.0 million jobs are projected to be added by 2026 in this sector, representing approximately one-third of all new jobs. By 2026 it will be the largest major sector of the U.S. economy. Many of these jobs will require high skills levels and at least some level of postsecondary education.

For more details, check out the November Employment Data Digest, PPI’s monthly review of job trends for those ages 55 and over.

Jen Schramm is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute. As part of the Financial Security Team, she identifies policy challenges and opportunities related to workers age 50 and above. Through research and analyses of emerging employment trends, she develops policy options to inform AARP’s strategy on work and jobs, including helping older workers find and retain jobs.


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The AARP Community Challenge: Quick Action, Big Results

The AARP Community Challenge: Quick Action, Big Results

For the first-ever AARP Community Challenge, AARP has invested nearly $780,000, in the form of “quick-action” grants, to create change and improve the quality of life for people of all ages in communities across the nation. From over 1,200 applications, AARP selected 88 winners of these grants.

To learn more, or for a complete list of winners, please visit the AARP Community Challenge homepage.

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Senate Bill: Millions of Older Americans Could See Higher Tax Bills

Senate Bill: Millions of Older Americans Could See Higher Tax Bills

The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) recently passed its tax reform proposal — the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” This bill, like the House-passed tax legislation, warrants the attention of older Americans. Not only because it increases taxes on some taxpayers 65+, but also because it would trigger rules that, barring congressional action, would result in automatic cuts to federal programs. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, those cuts would be $136 billion in fiscal year 2018, $25 billion of which must come from Medicare.

In some ways, the House and SFC tax bills are similar. For example, both bills double the standard deduction, eliminate personal exemptions, reduce individual income tax rates, eliminate certain itemized deductions, and cut the maximum corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Both bills would also change the way tax parameters are adjusted for inflation in order to raise taxes.

In some important aspects the two bills diverge. For example, under the SFC bill, a large number of individual tax relief provisions expire after 2025 to comply with a technical Senate rule. In addition, the SFC bill would retain two current-law provisions important to taxpayers 65+: the extra standard deduction for the blind and older taxpayers and the medical expense tax deduction.

Still, the potential impact of the SFC bill on older Americans goes beyond those provisions. To understand the implications of the SFC’s tax proposals for Americans 65+, the AARP Public Policy Institute asked the Institute for Tax and Economic Policy (ITEP) to analyze the tax bill as passed by the SFC using its microsimulation tax model. The results underscore the proposal’s potential negative long-term impact on older Americans.

Like the House tax bill, many taxpayers age 65+ get some tax relief under the SFC bill. But others end up paying higher income taxes than they pay today and the number doing so rises sharply over time. That impact is in addition to the potential negative effects of cuts to programs like Medicare that would result from the tax bill—effects that the analysis does not cover.

Overall, 20 percent of taxpayers 65+, totaling 6.3 million taxpayers, would either see no change or experience a tax increase in 2019 under the SFC tax bill. Among them, 1.2 million would get a tax hike and 5.1 million would see no change. About 29 percent of taxpayers 65+ with income below $65,150 (the income limit that captures 60 percent of all taxpayers), would see no tax change or a tax hike.

As a result of sunsetting the SFC’s middle-class tax cuts, the projected number of taxpayers 65+ experiencing a tax hike would jump more than four times in eight years from 1.2 million in 2019 to 5.2 million in 2027. Add the 5.6 million older Americans who would see no tax change in 2027, and the total number of taxpayers 65+ not receiving a tax cut rises to 10.8 million. As for taxpayers 65+ with incomes below $65,150, by 2027, 36 percent would either see no change in their income taxes or experience a tax increase compared to under current law.

The bottom line is that even today’s 65+ as well as those who turn 65 by 2027 who benefit initially may end up paying higher and ever increasing taxes soon thereafter. Further, as the result of growing deficits, they may receive reduced value from Medicare or other programs that are central to older Americans’ wellbeing.


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Supporting Small Businesses…Saturday

Small businesses have and will continue to play a vital role in helping communities thrive. In the past small businesses have typically been our local bakery, florist, dry cleaners, barber shop, candy store, and the pizza and sandwich shop. Present day, small businesses now include online artisan and jewelry boutiques, clothing stores, food trucks, pop-up shops, nail salons, and pet walkers, to name a few.

To honor the contributions small businesses make to help sustain local communities, and to encourage local spending, American Express’ Small Business Saturday hopes to inspire you to “Shop Small.” Recognized every Saturday after Thanksgiving and during National Entrepreneurship Month, it’s a way to boost local commerce and celebrate the passion and drive of small business owners. Here are a few ways you can participate.

Shop Local

“Get up, get out and shop small” on Saturday, November 25th to support your local businesses. In many towns across America people have side gigs and side hustles to augment their income. And, some have decided to leave their nine to five to purse their passion. So, if you know someone who has taken that leap of faith, perhaps started an online business or has a small store front, make an effort to stop by and support their business. This is also an ideal way to begin your holiday shopping because people love gifts that are locally made.

Got a Business? Get Registered

At small businesses I’ve supported, I noticed they have signage indicating they are registered as a Small Business Saturday merchant. If you are a small business owner, consider registering as a Small Business Saturday merchant, order a kit, and show the community you’re open for business, particularly on that day. Word of mouth is still the best way to attract more customers.

Organize a community Pop-up

Support local businesses by organizing a vendors’ pop-up to allow the local smoothie and coffee business, artisans, bakers, farmers, jam and cheese makers and others to sell their goods. In addition, perhaps invite a local restaurateur to host a community taste test while neighbors shop.

Get Entrepreneurial Fever

Do you think you have what it takes to work for yourself? Not sure? Check out AARP’s small business resources to find out if starting a business is right for you. We also have free online tools and resources at www.aarp.org/50plusentrepreneurship to help you with marketing, financing and developing your business plan. You can also check out the Small Business Administration to learn more about starting a business.

AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.

Photo: AARP

Also of Interest

10 Tips to Starting a Home Business

Create a Winning Business Pitch

Turn Your Hobby into a Business

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Meet Jenny V. Jensen of AARP’s Georgia State Office

Meet Jenny V. Jensen of AARP’s Georgia State Office

Jenny Jensen is a child of the Vietnam War — or at least, end of the war. She was born in April of 1975 in Bangkok, Thailand, while her father was in Saigon “when the city went to hell in a handbasket.”

“I am what is called a third culture kid,” she says. “My father worked for the State Department, which is why he was in Southeast Asia.”

When her family moved to the U.S., she became an American citizen, but she continued to move all over the world. Her family was back in Thailand in the late 1980s and early ’90s. “Most of the American kids hung out in the red light district,” she recalls.

Jensen’s mother is Thai Chinese, whose grandparents migrated from China. Her great grandfather passed away at the age of 108 in 1987 when she was 13, so she grew up understanding her cultural roots. When she comments that her aunt sometimes slips into Mandarin when she’s on the phone, Jensen admits she hasn’t kept up her language skills. “Oh no, no, no, I don’t speak Chinese. It’s very easy to do, if you don’t use the language you lose it.”

She’s spent the past few years in the American South, where one might have even less of a reason to speak Mandarin. She was in Raleigh, N.C., and then last year she moved to Atlanta to take the role as Sr. Program Assistant for AARP’s Georgia State Office. She describes her job as being a “Jill of all trades, a little bit of everything.”

She helps manage the state office’s volunteers, including the volunteer portals for the Georgia’s 40 active chapters. “For some chapters, it’s like a social group,” she says, but a social group that focuses on AARP’s issues for 50-plus Georgians.

One aspect of living and working in the South that she’s still getting used to is the accent … coming from Asians. “The Southern drawl, it is bizarre. You’ve got someone who is very Asian looking and yet he has a twang,” she adds with a chuckle.

There are more Asians in the South than you might expect, though. Maybe speaking Mandarin could be helpful after all.

“There is a very large pop of Asian-Americans. It was really nice to discover that,” she says. “A very large Chinese population — in fact, there is a dragon boat festival here in Lake Lanier. Also, very large Laotian and Thai population in southern Atlanta, Vietnamese. Little bit of everybody here. Buford Highway is a road that has every ethnic restaurant and grocery store you can imagine. It’s a really cool place to be Asian-American.”

Jensen boasts of two Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) volunteers who she works with in the Driver Safety classes, a Korean a South Asian who is the lead volunteer for Driver Safety in the state.

Being biracial sets her apart from even other AAPIs, because of her appearance. Biracial Asians are familiar with the quizzical looks they get from people. “I still deal with that, even at the ripe old age of 42,” she admits. “People think it’s something they can just walk up and ask you.

“A photographer at an event asked where I was from. I said I was from Raleigh, N.C. He said, ‘No, where are you really from?’” After she explained her ethnic heritage, she laughs, “He said, ‘Oh, you look Hispanic.’

“I find it very odd. Maybe this is how people are in the states. Quick to assume, and assign you an identity they’re familiar with.”

She takes it all in stride, though. She’s been a walking example of diversity from the moment of her birth, after all.

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Recognizing Veterans and Entrepreneurs

During this National Entrepreneur Month, we not only recognize the tenacity of small business owners, but our veterans who took the leap of faith to open a small business. While November is widely known as a time our country honors and recognizes the contributions veterans made to our country, it’s also a moment we acknowledge the impact entrepreneurs have made to our economy; both adding valuable contributions to our country.
Becoming an entrepreneur is challenging and rewarding, all at the same time. Sometimes it requires you to take that leap of faith by moving from fear to faith and taking the plunge to do that thing you’ve been wanting to do for a long while – but you just couldn’t figure out the right time to do it! Perhaps, now is the time. If you’re interested in getting your business started but don’t know where or how to get started, here are few things to consider:
Make a plan/Attend trainings, workshops or webinars. To get started, register now for the free AARP From Passion to Profit, Part 2: Veteran Entrepreneurship Webinar on November 9th at 3PM EST. During this session, moderated by SBA’s Jamie Wood, panelists Lee Dougherty (Founder, Operation Rally Point), Joseph Parker (Founder, iN2STEM Solutions, Inc.) will discuss the challenges and rewards of being a small business owners, as well as how they used their military skills to start a business. Gaea Honeycutt (Founder, Hypatian Institute, Inc.) and Charles McCaffrey (Director, Veterans Business Outreach Center), who work with veterans, will highlight resources and support available for veteran entrepreneurs. Organizations such as AARP, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Veteran Affairs GI Bill; Bunker Labs; and the Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Program, all have training programs and/or offer funding to assist aspiring veteran business owners. Or, attend an event during SBA Veterans Small Business Week to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur.
Talk to an expert. I’m sure you know someone in business who has experienced the highs and lows of being a business owner. Reach out and request time to chat to ask about their experiences and how they got started; particularly if they are in your desired industry. Ask them about the challenges and successes of being a business owner and being your own boss. From there you can determine if starting a small business is right for you.
Get a mentor. The SBA has great resource partners such as SCORE, a group of retired business executives, to offer persons in business or interested in starting a business one on one assistance to help you get and stay on track. SCORE mentors are located in most cities though the US and have a proven track record helping entrepreneurs be successful.
Get funded. Funding is one of the most common road blocks to getting your business off the ground. There are a number of non-traditional ways to get funded through entities such as, KIVA, Fundera and Community Development Funding Institutions (CDFI) looking to help your business build and grow. Consider seeking an angel investor(s) and/or fundraising through GoFundMe to get people interested in supporting your business.
Don’t let failure stop you. Studies show that many businesses fail in the first 5 years. This may not apply to you, so do not let that discourage you. Launching a small business takes risk and fortitude to see your dream become a reality. Be committed to moving from idea to “open for business.”
Support small businesses. The challenges and rewards of self-employment are partly due to the support of fellow business owners. Take a moment on Small Business Saturday, November 25th to support small businesses. Remember, their survival depends on you.
AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP.
Photo: AARP
Also of Interest
Veteran Gig Entrepreneur
Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

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