I had an illustrative experience recently. In a busy checkout line at the local Barnes & Noble, an elderly gentleman rang up my rather complex combination of books, gift cards, and electronic transfers. He proceeded flawlessly and efficiently.

I finally had the temerity to ask, “How old are you?”

“Eighty-four,” came back the answer; “I like to stay active, and I get to meet a lot of interesting people here.” We had a quick conversation about how much more common people like him are today, and I moved on.

I had the definite impression that this gentleman didn’t need the income but simply preferred working.

This situation perfectly illustrates the October jobs report, which made an already-confusing employment environment look even more complicated.

Employers Want Gray Hair

I’ve mentioned how employers seem reluctant to hire older workers. Reader Steve Lange from Denver, however, pointed me to a ZeroHedge article that questions this premise.

If you look at the table below, which shows Bureau of Labor Statistics age breakdown for new jobs you’ll see that workers aged 55 and over accounted for virtually all of October’s strong gains—378,000 new jobs last month.