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.



Maria said:

Just checking in on this site again. Feeling alone and misunderstood sometimes. My 55th bday on the horizon and still wondering where the hell I fit in. Working at Target currently but cannot support myself without asking for family's help. Credit once excellent is now history as I had to practically live on my Discover card to get buy. 401K gone like so many others. You keep thinking stay positive, and who knows what tomorrow brings ?RIGHT??? Do what you can but you can't do much more than that... George Harrison. I live every month terrified I can make it to the next... How did this happen? - posted Feb. 26, 2015

Shari said:

This is true. I have had to re-enter the work force at a bottom level after divorce/raising two children with an ex spouse working 24/7. Not easy and I am lucky to have a 3 day a week job after three years temping/evening night classes in MS Office Suite. Also, people do not treat over 40 women correctly. They think they are crazy, cannot multitask and not smart. Respect is gone. I am still trying for a permanent full time job, but have had one call for an interview recently. He cancelled the night before. This is worst than dating after 50 for women! I don't know what to tell my daughter - except stay at work as long as possible. It is depressing and I will not give up. They are wrong about us and will need to figure it out like older men do when only dating 20 somethings. -posted Feb 20, 2015

MisterM said:

52 and have been aggressively looking for work in my field for almost a year. I am in high tech - software consulting sales - and have worked for some major companies in the past. I am getting interviews, both over the phone and in person. Several companies have flown me out to the coast, dropping a lot of money for a ticket, to have me interview in person. I am polished, professional, and accomplished - and have salt and pepper hair. I present myself well and do so with confidence. However, after my in person interviews, I find out a few days later that I am not going to move forward in the interview process. These are lengthy interview processes - some having as many as 8, 9, and 10 rounds of interviewing with presentations to boot! The latest reason I was told I would not move forward as a candidate is because I "do not have as much domain expertise as they would like." Huh? I have excellent experience in the position they were hiring for having managed a 6 state region, selling 7-figure deals. My family needs me to bring home the bacon. Please say a prayer for me...as I will for you all. -posted Feb. 12, 2015

Teri said:

I got laid off from my job last year and the organization was non profit and didn't pay into unemployment so I got none. I like many of you get the interviews and positive comments but not the job.In the past when I had such positive interviews I get the job well almost every job I fill out for I get a interview but not the job.What is the deal? I am clean attractive outgoing personality experience but no job.It has to be our Age what else could it be? I will soon be 50 and yep its looking pretty hopeless.I have always paid my bills on time,excellent credit and have lived within my means, now we are barely eating. It's not fair and everything is going up in price but I can't get a job. Someone said we would cost them more(employers). That would be true if you lost your job but not getting a job. You make what they are willing to pay. What I think is cruel is to give us a interview in the first place if they have no intentions in hiring someone our age. This has really become a problem. - posted on Feb. 11, 2015

John Winstel said:

When I click on read the rest I get the same page that first appeared. I want to hear the 'rest of the story', as Paul Harvey would of said it. Stories are sad but, comforting in an odd sense. I'm 55 and and am looking for work and have had the same results as others posted on this site. My wife makes me feel as though I am the only one out of work. Need to start a national campaign. Gov't could help in giving 'money' to companies who hire over 50 and keep their jobs for 2 yrs minimum to help out SS contributions amongst other benefits. Easier to get into heaven than finding a job these days! - posted Feb. 10, 2105

Jean said:

I am a 50 year old women with a solid work history since age 14. I am currently getting squeezed out of my job. First I have a question - In the state of WI if a company does a restructure to your department and they take your position that you have held for 8 years and tell you the job descriptions in your department are being changed and you will have to reapply for one of the new positions they will be posting. If they do not hire you for one of those new positions so you did not get fired and you did not quit. Can you still collect unemployment? I do not have a collage degree but do have over 30 years of live work experience. The new positions they have set up say that a collage degree is required and there is no note stating (or equivalent work experience). Every year there I have received a very good to excellent review from all of my bosses. My boss for the last three years is now gone and the new person they hired is a women younger than me that has no work experience at all in what my field is. From the day she was hired she has been bullying me and I think the reason is that the company is trying to find ways to get rid of us older long term staff that are paid a hirer rate. I have been actively looking for a new job on line hoping that I get hired for one of them before this company gets their restructure in place and I loose my be job. I am a person with high integrity and energy and have a positive attitude. I am hoping to get hired into a good company that treats there employees with respect and values the hard work and loyalty that us baby boomers provide. -posted Feb. 7, 2015

fred said:

well working at construction at 62 layed off was told i had to drive 140 miles one way or look for another job. they had work 10 minutes from my house in nj. nobody will do anythling for you. this i know for sure! - posted Feb. 3, 2015

Barbara said:


Linda said:

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

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