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Older Workers Finding Rhode Island Jobs

In today’s economy, older workers may have an easier time finding jobs in Rhode Island.

As the labor market tightens, a rising demand for workers could present new job opportunities for older workers, according to an article by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.

“Many employers recognize this human resource rich in experience, productivity, dedication and maturity,” the article notes.
In 2004, Rhode Island had a labor force of 562,000 people who were either working or actively seeking employment, and of them, 16.9 percent, or 95,000, were 55-years and older. Of those 55-years and older in the labor force, 50.5 percent were men and 49.5 percent were women. Nationally, men accounted for 53.6 percent of the older workforce, while 46.4 percent were women.

On average, median weekly wages were greatest for those aged 45 to 54 at $782, followed by those 55 to 64-years old at $765. The median weekly wage for those 65-years and older is $581. The national median weekly wage for all workers in the third quarter of 2006 was $675.

In 2004, of Rhode Island’s 848,000 working-age residents, about 256,000, or 30.2 percent, were 55-years and older. Rhode Island has a larger percentage of working residents aged 55 to 64, at 13.1 percent, than the national average of 12.9 percent. In 2000, working Rhode Island residents aged 55 to 64 made up about 10.8 percent of the labor force, and that number increased to 13.1 percent in 2004.

Of all the New England states, Maine has the highest number of 55 to 64-year-olds working, at 14.7 percent, while Massachusetts had the lowest at 12.1 percent. Rhode Island ranked fifth at 13.1 percent.

“In 2004, the total labor force participation rate for the state was 66.4 percent,” the article adds. “In comparison, the labor force participation rate for those aged 55+ was 37.1 percent. However, it should be noted that the labor force participation rate for the 55-64 age group (71.4 percent) was considerably higher than the state average, while the labor force participation rate for 65+ was 11.1 percent.”

Men who are 55 and older are more likely to participate in the labor force at 42.1 percent than women at 33.1 percent. Nationally, the labor force participation rate for those 55 to 64-years old was at 62.3 percent, 9.1 percent lower than Rhode Island. Vermont has the highest participation rate for workers aged 55 to 64 in New England at 72.7 percent.