Since the beginning of the year, “PBS NewsHour Business & Economics Correspondent Paul Solman has been taking a close look at the growing numbers of Americans working well past retirement.
In a series of original broadcast and web reports, Solman has explored not only the reasons why so many are putting off retirement, but the unique challenges they face, and the expected impact on our overall economy as 32 million Americans reach retirement age over the next 20 years.
Now, “PBS NewsHour,” in partnership with design firm Ocupop, has launched a new interactive and immersive Web page, New Adventures for Older Workers, which features Solman’s videos along with Web-only videos, graphics, quizzes, data and analysis.
“We spent months digging into reams of data, interviewing experts and listening to stories of people living this ‘adventure’ themselves,” explained Elizabeth Shell, writer and data producer.
“Our goal was to create a page that not only highlighted the trends we discovered and the depths of the problems many families face, but to create a space where viewers can share their experiences and have their voice be heard. The result is one of the most in-depth and original explorations into the changing habits of America’s older workers.”
Visitors can join in the story as they scroll through the site. Live graphics respond to viewers’ responses and video plays as new stories are told.
As viewers explore the data, they are prompted to share their thoughts and answers to questions, such as: How long do you plan to work? Have you saved enough for retirement? What type of community do you live in?
Past stories have included a profile of 63-year-old retired government worker Charles Smith who works in a produce department for $10 an hour to support his family; the story of 61-year-old Joel Peters who can’t work his grueling job as a paramedic forever but has almost nothing saved for retirement;
A profile of David Thompson, a NASCAR fan who left retirement so he could share his love and knowledge of it at the NASCAR Hall of Fame; and 72-year old political science professor Ronald Stockton who likes to impart a sense of history on his students by leading them on long hikes through the cemeteries of metro Detroit. He says he’ll only retire when he can no longer inspire students.
Other stories focus on 69-year-old bike shop owner Mike Kemp whose health may force him to retire before he’d planned; 68-year-old Babs Tatalia explaining how she got into teaching after the financial crash wiped out her retirement; and Vita Needle, where the average worker is 74 years old, by design. The manufacturing company has intentionally hired seniors — a decision that has increased profits and benefited older workers who often have a harder time finding a job.
In academia, many professors remain working and teaching long past traditional retirement age, leaving younger potential professors shut out from highly coveted full-time, tenured positions. Solman reports on how institutions are negotiating with aging faculty.
Solman talks with entrepreneurs who decided to pursue their own business dreams later in life.
Despite a rosier jobs picture for most Americans, Solman explores why older workers face joblessness and considerable financial strain.