|By Gerry Weiss, Erie Times-News, Pa.|
The 76-year-old waitress has worked at the
Duncan, 70, has worked on maintenance and construction projects at the popular
New data from the
Nearly 6.5 million people 65 and older were in the U.S. labor force in 2010, the last year the census was counted. In 1990, that number was less than 3.8 million people.
Within the 65 and over population, 65- to 69-year-olds saw the largest change, escalating from 22 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2010.
"Financial concerns and the economy definitely would impact the decision," Braedyn Kromer, an analyst in the bureau's Labor Force Statistics Branch, said during a phone interview from the
Kromer said he believes the number of people 65 and older in the labor force will continue to soar.
"It's hard to predict," she added. "But it certainly seems like a long-term trend."
The new census data, which factor in full-time and part-time workers, showed a greater uptick for women 65 and older.
Between 1990 and 2010, women 65 and older experienced a 4.1 percent increase in labor force participation, while women 16 to 64 experienced a 1.9 percent rise.
This compares with a 3.2 percent increase for men 65 and older and a 5.2 percent decline for men 16 to 64.
"I like the people who come in, the people I work with. It helps keep me feeling young," said Butler, the Ricardo's waitress.
Butler works part time at the restaurant two nights a week, and said she spends her earnings on her three grandchildren. Her house is paid for, and her monthly
"If I didn't work, I wouldn't know what to do with myself," Butler said.
"It's only two nights, but it fulfills my need to get out. Cleaning the house and watching TV only goes so far."
The new census data show 22.3 percent of city of
"I have been blessed with good health enabling me to continue to work," Homicz said.