Job losses associated with the COVID-19 recession may be contributing to a jump in retirements among baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964, or aged 55 to 74 — finds a Pew Research Center analysis of monthly labor force data. 

In the third quarter, about 28.6 million boomers reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement. This is 3.2 million more boomers than the 25.4 million who were retired in the same quarter of 2019. Until this year, the overall number of retired boomers had been growing annually by about 2 million since 2011, which is the year the oldest boomer reached age 65. The largest increase before this one was 2.5 million between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015.

Between February and September, the number of retired boomers increased by about 1.1 million. That’s compared with only about 250,000 of boomers who retired between February and September of last year. The recent increase in the share of retired boomers also is more pronounced among Hispanic and Asian American boomers, those residing in the Northeast and among those with no education beyond high school.