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Workplace: Boomers will stay on the job

As retirement investments tank, older workers will postpone their retirement plans. That will leave fewer vacancies for young people entering the labor force and make it tougher for young people already on the job to advance.

“It’s changing everybody’s expectations of how long they’re going to work,” Doug Woodward, research economist at USC’s Moore School of Business, said of the current economic turbulence. “Holding on to a job is the best security people have.”

Arianna Derrick, a certified financial planner at Abacus Planning Group in Columbia, said she hears more clients talk about delaying their retirement.

“We used to hear people talk about retiring at 55, and there’s still some people out there who can do it,” Derrick said. “Now, they’re saying, ‘Well, it was an idea, but I never really thought it would happen. I’ll probably work until 60 or 62.’”

As a result, the job market will be tight for younger people starting their careers. For those who already have jobs, it will be more difficult to advance.

“It’s tough to be a young person in this market with rising unemployment where people are holding on to their jobs,” Woodward said.

Noelle Phillips

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COPING BY SACRIFICING

Amid a budget year that has shocked public officials, Lexington 3’s Bill Gummerson clings to stories of community.

At a recent meeting with a teachers’ group, for instance, the question came up: If the need arises, should the school district lay off workers or impose an across-the-board salary cut? Overwhelmingly, teacher representatives said they would prefer salary cuts.

That’s the upside of a terrible year, an upside that has seen workers at other government agencies volunteer for unpaid furloughs to save jobs.

But Gummerson wonders whether there will be a permanent rip in the fabric of community at some point. Institutions cannot sustain continuing blows, he said. Neithercan workers.

“If it continues on a downward trend, people will start looking out for themselves,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t get there.”

Carolyn Click

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