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Older workers still punching the clock: StatsCan
OTTAWA -- The threat of an immediate labor shortage is being delayed thanks mainly to older workers who are deciding to stay on the job longer, according to a new study by Stats Canada. Although the demographic picture shows that Canada is facing a severe labor shortage as baby boomers gets set to retire, an estimated 2.1 million individuals aged 55 to 64 were either employed or looking for work in 2006, more than double the total in 1976, according to the study "Participation of Older Workers." They represented 12 percent of the total labor force in 2006, compared with 10 percent three decades earlier.

In Alberta, 68 percent of older workers
aged 55 to 64 had a job in 2006.
The two main forces behind these increases are an aging population and rising labor force participation rates among older workers, says StatsCan. In 2006, these older workers represented 14 percent of the total population, up from 11 percent in 1976. At the same time, the overall labor force participation rate for this group increased from 53 to 59 percent. Data showed that the majority of individuals in their late 50s were still working last year. Among men aged 55 to 59, three-quarters (76%) either had a job or were looking for one. A smaller proportion of people aged 60 to 64 were participating in the labor force. However, last year, 53 percent of men in this age group were participating in the workforce, compared with 43 percent in 1995. A record 37 percent of women were doing so as well. The study suggests that participation among this age group will continue to rise because of a strong attachment to the labor market among baby boomers; rising levels of education; and an apparent desire among people over 55 to continue working, either from interest, financial concern, or other factors, such as the virtual elimination of mandatory retirement at age 65. In Alberta, 68 percent of older workers aged 55 to 64 had a job in 2006, the highest provincial employment rate. "Because of the oil boom, the province has experienced labor shortages and is attracting workers of all ages. Saskatchewan and Manitoba also had employment rates of over 60% for this age group," states the study. -- (Be sure to check out the Weekly Feature on TodaysTrucking.com's homepage, titled "Slow Workers Ahead" for an in-depth look at labor migration in trucking and how future demographics will shape the industry.)
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