Clocking out early: Minnesotans don't want to work so hard after they turn 60

Minnesotans are serious about working — until they turn 60.

The state is a national leader in labor force participation for workers 59 years old and younger, according to a new analysis from the APM Research Lab. American Public Media Group, MPR News' parent company, launched the nonpartisan research and analysis division this year.

Early retirement is prevalent in Minnesota, likely because the state's older adults tend to be more economically secure than those in other places.

But that security has some serious consequences for the state.

"Labor force participation" includes people looking for paid employment and those working for pay — it doesn't count people who are raising children, in school or volunteering. Take a look at how different age groups' participation stacks up:

Why are Minnesota's adults more content than their peers to retire after they turn 60? According to senior research associate Andi Egbert:

One heartening theory for which there is some evidence: Minnesota's older adults may be more economically secure, with more retirement savings, than late-career workers across much of the nation.

Perhaps they now wish to be caregivers for their grandchildren, or to volunteer at the food shelf, or finally take up kayaking. And who could blame them? Less rosy explanations might include health challenges or even employer discrimination.

There is some cause for concern in this data, too, Egbert writes:

• Minnesota's population of people age 65 and older is as high as it has ever been.

• Baby Boomers are retiring in record numbers, and Minnesota's labor market is getting tighter every day.

For employers, this is bad news. "It appears many of Minnesota's older adults don't need the labor force as much as Minnesota's labor force now needs them," she writes.

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