Older Workers: No Longer Needed?


Over 50 and Out of Work documents the devastating impact of the Great Recession on 100 older Americans, and a May 2011 report issued by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University sets their individual experiences in a broader and more ominous national context.

The report, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, catalogs the shocking impact of the “Great Dislocation of 2007-09” on older workers and the economic consequences for the country. The full report “The Job Dislocation and Re-employment Experiences of America’s Older Workers During the Great Recessionary Period of 2007-2009” can be read by clicking here.

“I feel like we’ve become a throwaway generation,” said one unemployed older worker we met during the course of our interviews, and the center’s report offers support for her apprehension.

Twelve of the report’s key points about the three-year Great Recession:

• 2.685 million older workers (55 and older) were permanently dislocated from their jobs.

• The dislocation rate for older workers was 9.3 percent, the highest rate ever recorded for this age group.

• One out of every seven older worker in the private for-profit sector lost his or her job.

• One out of every nine older men with up to the Associate’s degree level was dislocated.

• Close to one out of every five older workers holding a blue-collar job were permanently laid off.

• In January 2010, nearly 75 percent of all older workers were working or actively looking for work. Almost 50 percent of them were unemployed.

• In January 2010, only 37 percent of older, dislocated workers had found new jobs. This rate is the lowest re-employment rate for older workers ever recorded.

• The unemployment rate for older workers (which is broken down by age groups in the report) is twice as high as those experienced by older workers during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

• In January 2010, 65 percent of older workers were unemployed, underemployed or mal-employed (not able to fully utilize their skills and education in their new jobs).

• In January 2010, all re-employed dislocated older workers earned, on average, $105 or 13 percent less per week than they had been paid previously.

• The overall aggregate loss in earnings among older dislocated workers was $73.5 billion or $27,364 per dislocated worker.

• The estimated annual fiscal loss to the United States (from cash and in-kind transfers paid to dislocated workers plus the lost annual federal and state tax receipts) is $38.07 billion or $20,376 per dislocated worker.

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Comments

Barbara said:

WOMAN AT 60 PLUS AND IN CT SCARED FOR NEXT YEAR HARDLY ANYONE MAKES REFERENCE TO THIS RATHER LARGE BABY BOOMER PROBLEM AND NEXT GENERATION AFTER..GOT ANY WEEKLY ADVICE FOR WE ALL NEED MIRACLES AND OUR COUNTRY NEEDS AWARENESS-posted Jan. 25, 2015

Linda said:

Never did I think I would be unemployable at the spry age of 55. - posted on Jan. 23, 2015

PS said:

JJ - WOW! Somebody in HR finally admitted there is a well-thought out plan of disposing of workers in their 50's and even more frightening, not hiring them. And companies wonder why the 20 and 30 something's aren't loyal and hard-working like the Baby Boomers? - posted on Jan. 23, 2015

Cathy said:

I'm 52 and while I have a job, and it pays well (I count my blessings!), it's not really want I want to do - it's more what I have to do to pay the bills. I work from home, and that leads to isolation - I'd rather be working with others and getting that energy from the environment (I'm not a flower child - but actually having conversations with others is a good thing). I've applied for jobs that pay 1/2 of what I make - and barely get a response. I could do those jobs with no problem - but no one will give me a chance it seems. Kind of depressing!

Kevin said:

I lost my computer repair job when my company lost a major contract to a competitor at age 49. The company that get the contract offered me a job, but at a pay level of just over half what I was making before. An attempt to start my own business failed. Retrained in new fields --- twice--- to no effect. Graduating from my last program right into the teeth of the 2008 Depression didn't help any. Not a single interview, in spite of being at the top of my class. Meanwhile, I and one other grey beard watched as the younger students where snapped up by companies even before they graduated from the school. Ageism and age discrimination is a real problem. There are supposedly laws against this, but they have no teeth and are not enforced. I believe the ONLY thing that would change this is a quota requirement imposed on employers that force them to hire and retain a certain percentage of over 50 workers. Minorities, Women, Religious and other protected groups have strongly enforced laws on their side in Affirmative Action. Employers mouth a good game, proudly proclaiming that they don't discriminate on the basis of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation and yes sometimes even age. But in practice, the Agism, exclusion and age discrimination is rampant, and they have found that they can easily get a way with it, as they are clever with this, and it is very hard to prove ageism. Isn't it time we, the people over 50, where included in a the same strongly enforced Affirmative Action laws that the other groups seem to enjoy? Write your congressmen. I sure am. -posted Jan. 21, 2015

joseph said:

wow, I applied for social services , I felt underdressed , worked all my life with 5 years left to go on my mortgage , how on earth am I gonna make it , I sit on computer all day desperately looking for a job, my life as a construction worker has taken a toll on my body , sure im in decent shape , but don't think I can compete with the younger boys , as far as jobs go , I am not a computer genius, and all these jobs require resume , ha! how on earth am I ever gonna find decent employment , I have a washed up carpenter resume , my only chance is to tough it out for a few months , hopefully be able to save a few bucks to start a small business , but if that fails I will fail , politicians ship jobs overseas , illegal immigrant crawling over border like cock roaches , I am near ready to go live in the woods off grid , im trying to hang on to my sanity , but who expected our government to completely screw up this country, wish me well .....but honestly I think im gonna head off grid in Vermont.... - posted Jan. 20, 2015

s said:

After reading all your comments. I know exactly what everyone is talking about. This is not the America I grew up in; these politicians and their policies have destoryed the American Dream and ironically are made up of mostly lawyers who are hypocrities. They write laws yet them exempt themselves from the same laws they pass and are supposed to protect people from discrimination when clearly they don't.Unless you have money or are born in wealth, what chance does the middle class older workers have? There are strength in numbers and speaking of numbers or emails....sherrySherry if you see this post, email me so we can exchange #s or emails- 9.morrison@gmail.com I would love to brainstorm with you or any of the people who have posted comments. Thank you! - posted Jan. 16, 2015

Patricia said:

In response to Joni S, I am assuming by answering here you are responding to my post, unfortunately, a generation of folks who have worked their entire lives to end up the way we did is an absolute disgrace. What I notice on a daily basis is more and more individuals have responded or written their stories here and these stories whether they be here or all across this country are finally coming into the spotlight. I will always say, if you post or say something with all kinds of information behind you when speaking or posting there is always someone out there that either reads or listens and in the end, you will see something will happen. While I am not sure of what just yet, as the country and the White House and all of who is connected to the White House are realizing what happened to a generation of folks who no fault of their own are in these positions. We need to stand together as a "generation" of folks and continue to fight the battle. While some have given up, in my mind you go into a depression and that is not healthy for any one of us. I've been out a considerable time now, and in this world of which we live today, "I am told, I am no longer "current", but then again, first define what is "current" when there is nothing other than p/t jobs in "McDonald's" and that is of course, if you can get it!!!!!!!! - posted Jan. 16, 2015

JJ said:

A friend of mine who is president of HR for a major US corporation gave me her inside line on how the job market changed in 2008. She shared her comments with me after I was laid off at 56 after 30 years with one firm in 2008 telling me "you were lucky you beat the odds". I am still looking for work at 62. Her comments follow: "In America today your clock starts ticking at 40 once you achieve or are in middle management, by the time you are 45 that clock speeds up and your opportunities slow down. Once you hit 50 in America unless you are union, government or specialty employed you are no longer of use". A confidential survey made in April 2009 by her company clearly outlined what to and how to force workers over 50 out and bring in younger more tech savvy workers to do the same work for 1/2 as much pay. The survey concluded that "Ageism" in the American workplace is successful in 98% of the cases". Meaning 98% of those workers forced out will not take legal action against their former employer for age discrimination. "C" then commented to me... "Most American companies today are free to do as they please without fear. It is an employers market and it will never be an employee market again in this country" Pretty sad indeed. - posted Jan. 13, 2015

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