Will jobless 50+ workers be able to get back in the workforce?

Nothing throws a financial plan off course like unplanned unemployment in the years leading up to retirement. Plenty of plans have been derailed in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Nearly half of workers retire earlier than expected, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey. The reasons include health problems or disability (61 percent); downsizing or closure (18 percent); and the need to care for a spouse or another family member (18 percent).

Near-retirement workers who are unemployed or underemployed have probably reduced, or eliminated, retirement plan contributions. Perhaps they’ve tapped savings accounts to meet living expenses.

What’s next? Is it reasonable to expect 50+ workers will be able to get back into the labor force? Or are they really retired for good, and just don’t know it yet?

Government employment data and other research paint a mixed picture.

Photo by Bytemarks via Flickr