A degree of work that never ends

In general, older workers who have the most education tend to work the longest, although in his report for the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Craig Copeland does not say why. Discounting the recent recession, two-thirds of college graduates were still working full time, full year after the age of 55.

Those with college degrees worked the most (69.7 percent), while those with graduate degrees came in a close second at 68.6 percent. By contrast, only 55.6 percent of those without a high school diploma were still working after age 55. 

When the recession hit, everyone except the least educated lost ground. Employment among those without a high school diploma stayed the same, but employment in every other age group declined by 1 to 3 percent.

Copeland predicts that, despite the dip in the recession, the percentage of workers continuing on the job into their mid-70s will continue. Even those 75 and older are still working, with three in 10 holding part time jobs. In fact, more of them returned to part time work as the recession hit in 2008.