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Unemployed Older Workers Face Challenges

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Having lived a healthy lifestyle with better medical care and delayed retirement planning has kept Baby Boomers active in the workforce. So long as they are employed all is well. However, lose a job and older workers age 55 years and above have some unique challenges in finding work.

Recent the Society for Human Resources Management and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Public Policy released reports that analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation for November 2013 with mixed results for older workers. The good news is that older workers unemployment in November was 4.9% that is much lower than the national unemployment rate of 7%. This is in sharp contrast from the October unemployment rate for older workers which was 5.4%. Younger job seekers age 16-24 years old have a much higher unemployment rate at 14.1%. Overall hiring has steadily increasing for older workers compared to a year earlier but lags behind younger worker hiring.

The bad news for unemployed older workers is a trend towards longer periods of unemployment. The average length of unemployment increased for older job seekers in November to 50.7 weeks before finding a job. While those under age 55 years old are unemployed an average of 35.6 weeks. The BLS reports that half of the long term unemployed are older unemployed job seekers 55 years and older. In November there were 1.6 million older workers who were unemployed.

When there is cause for separation from employment the older worker faces challenging misconceptions. Some older workers are seen as disengaged people who are planning for retirement. Older workers can be seen as out of step with workplace technology and are passed over for hiring a younger worker. Direct competition with other unemployed groups adds to the job hunt hardship. Greater financial obligations by older workers require a higher income compared to younger workers more willing to accept lower pay for the same job.

To view the full AARP report go to Public Policy Institute The Employment Situation

Older workers who lose their jobs are well often well defined in their careers and are poorly prepared to begin a new career search. For older workers losing a job is a huge fear.

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