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More over-65 Americans staying in work force

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More adults over age 65 are staying in the work force, which could make it harder for younger workers to find jobs, a private report showed on Friday.

Older workers have delayed retirement because of a drop in household wealth tied to the real estate and stock market falls of the past decade, according to the report released by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers.

While employment for older workers remained low compared with the rest of the population, the over-65 group was the only one to increase its employment rate over the past decade, the report said.

"Given the size of the baby-boom generation, if the shift toward later retirement persists it will mean added pressure on the entry of younger workers on the labor force," said Richard Curtin, director of the surveys, in a statement.

Employment among the youngest workers fell substantially from the start of 2008 to the end of 2009 for both men and women. It fell for those aged 18-19 by 8.8 percentage points for men and 9.6 percentage points for women. For those aged 20-24, employment fell by 11.5 percentage points for men and 4.3 percentage points for women.

"The data suggest an extended period of adolescence, a trend that may be encouraged by new parental health care coverage until age 26," Curtin said.

The recently passed health care reform will extend the cutoff age for health care for children under their parents' coverage to 26.

That may reduce pressure on young adults to find their own health insurance before age 26, the report said.

The U.S. unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent, still near its historic high.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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