Study: Minnesotans work asses off, retire before 65, have this shit figured out

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Minnesotans work as hard as anyone in America until they reach age 60. Then they stop working. Is that so wrong? Getty Images/iStockphoto

No one in America's trying harder to get some work done than Minnesotans.

We could've told this to our fellow Americans, if we weren't so uncomfortable with talking about, you know, us. Besides, we've been busy.

Instead we'll let the story be told by a new study from APM Research Lab, which finds that Minnesota has the highest or tied-for-highest labor participation rate -- a measure of how many people are either working or actively looking for a job -- in America in every single age group between ages 20 and 59. 

Among 25-34 year olds, those shiftless, do-nothing Millennials allegedly moving in with their parents to devote more time and energy to downloading apps? Their participation rate's at about 88 percent, on par with the two age cohorts (35-44, with 88 percent; 45-54, 87 percent) that preceded them.  Minnesota's Millennials will politely accept your apologies via text message, which they will respond to with "k."

Even 84 percent of Minnesota's teens (teens!) are involved in the labor market, good for third place in America.

But as APM found, it's when the state's industrious folks get older that things get really interesting. Minnesotans age 55-59 have a participation rate of 80 percent. For the age group just above them, 60-64, the figure drops to 63 percent, and Minnesota drops from the hardest-working state to the sixth. 

Between age 65 and 74, only 28 percent of us are either still working or trying to, ranking Minnesota 15th, well behind states like Hawaii, Alaska, Massachussetts, and Maryland, and effectively tied with another eight states. In the span of age 59 to 65, Minnesota's shifting from the top of the working heap to the middle of the pack.

So, what gives? APM can't say for sure, but theorizes:

"One heartening theory for which there is some evidence: Minnesota’s older adults may be more economically secure, with more retirement savings, than late-career workers across much of the nation. Perhaps they now wish to be caregivers for their grandchildren, or to volunteer at the food shelf, or finally take up kayaking."

An economist might tell you this is a bad trend. As with other states, more Minnesotans are 65-and-older than ever, and "it appears many of Minnesota’s older adults don't need the labor force as much as Minnesota’s labor force now needs them," says the report.

The radical (and radically uninformed) economists of City Pages would like to counter: Meh. Don't worry about it, olds. We'll figure something out. Probably it will involve robots. We will teach them to be nice to retirees.

Meanwhile, go ahead, take up kayaking. Take cooking classes. Protest injustice. Become nudists! Stop by a basketball court and shoot hoops with little kids. (Not nude.) Go to a play. Try smoking pot again. It is so much better now than you remember it.

Invite the rest of us over for dinner. We've been working our asses off all week, and we're too tired to cook.


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