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Iowa numbers in workforce starting to gray

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Iowa employers are increasingly turning to older workers as the Baby Boom generation starts to gray, according to a U.S. Bureau of the Census study.

The number of workers older than 65 has increased dramatically in the health services industry and at social services agencies, two of the fields that posted big gains.

Overall, workers past the traditional retirement age of 65 climbed slightly, from 3.1 percent to 3.4 percent.

The number of workers 45-54 years of age climbed from 19 percent to 21 percent, and the number of workers 55-64 years of age rose by 2 percent, to about 12 percent.

The growing number of older workers reflects not only the aging of the huge Baby Boom generation born from 1946 through 1964 but also declining discrimination, observers say.

"There's a gradual change toward acceptance of older workers," said Robyn Krell, of Experience Works. Krell said about 85 percent of the workers say they've encountered age discrimination.

"Even though they say they're willing to make less than they used to make, the employers don't believe that," she said.



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