The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today reported a 3.4 percent unemployment rate for workers age 55 and older in March, unchanged from February.
While the unemployment rate for older workers remains low, many lack a pathway to a secure retirement. Over one third (37%) lack access to a retirement plan at work.
Despite the need to expand coverage to curb old-age poverty, city efforts to create auto-IRAs for private sector workers are under attack by the GOP-controlled Congress. Last week, the Senate voted to jeopardize initiatives by New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle that would extend retirement plan coverage to 3.7 million workers, over half a million of whom are near retirees .
These cities were relying on legal guidelines issued by the Department of Labor that the Senate voted to roll back. While city legislators have declared their intention to continue, in the absence of these protective regulations, the initiatives will likely end up in court.
City and state initiatives are an indication of the political will for reform and are a first step to reform at the federal level, such as Guaranteed Retirement Accounts. This proposal would give all workers access to safe, effective retirement accounts by requiring both employee and employer to contribute 1.5% of pay over a lifetime.