Employment is now less physically demanding and less likely to entail difficult working conditions than before, a trend that might spur employment at older ages. However, the shift to a knowledge-based economy has increased cognitive demands and placed a premium on mastering the latest technical skills. Between 1971 and 2006 the share of workers in cognitively demanding jobs (requiring such skills as reasoning, writing, and decisionmaking) increased from 25.7 to 34.8 percent. This development may curtail opportunities for older workers with limited education or those who lack recent training.
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