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Keeping older workers in jobs could increase OECD GDP by $2.6 trillion

Staff writer |
OECD countries could add $2.6 trillion to their total GDP if the employment rate for workers aged over 55 was equal to best-performing EU country Sweden, according to PwC.

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The PwC Golden Age Index is a weighted average of indicators – including employment, earnings and training – that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD countries.

The potential GDP boost varies significantly across countries, from around 1% in Norway to around 19% in Greece.

Other countries lagging behind in the index could also experience large gains, such as Belgium (15%) and Slovenia (14%). Given its size, the US has the largest potential absolute gain of around $0.5 trillion (around 3% of GDP).

The Nordic countries once again perform strongly on the index, with Iceland topping the list and Sweden in third and Norway in sixth place. Denmark (12th) and Finland (14th) don't perform quite as well as their peers, but still make it into the top half.

Israel, Germany and New Zealand have shown the most significant improvement since 2003, primarily driven by an increased employment rate for older workers, especially within the 65-69 age group.

Greece and Turkey have fallen the most in the rankings since 2003, partly due to falling employment rates for older workers.

Despite falling one place in the rankings since 2003 and remaining in the middle of the overall OECD table, the UK performs relatively well when compared to the other EU countries (ranking sixth out of 21).

The U.S. still has the highest ranking of the G7, but has fallen from second place in 2003 to seventh in 2014 as other countries have improved faster.

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