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I'M OUT

Americans aren’t just quitting—they are retiring at record rates, too

Men sail model boats at a pond in Spanish Springs at the world's largest retirement community
Reuters/Carlo Allegr
Forget the daily grind.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

Published Last updated on

Three million Americans retired during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, and that could make returning to full employment in the US more challenging.

The US labor market is like a complicated, sophisticated house party: It’s not just one-in, one-out at the main entrance. People are switching rooms, popping in the side-door, falling out the windows and sneaking in again through the back. Americans have been quitting at the highest rate in decades as the pandemic recession spurred them reevaluate what they want from their employers, even as record-high job openings entice them with new opportunities.

If more workers are demonstrating the leverage they now hold by quitting, many are also showing their independence from the labor market by retiring. During the pandemic, the share of Americans in retirement jumped from about 18.5% to 19.5%:

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