The Great Recession Continues for Unemployed Boomers


My June column for StayThirsty.com:

Since the declared end of the Great Recession almost two years ago, the outlook for unemployed boomers in the United States has continued to evolve and become more complicated, but it has not brightened.


On the positive side of the picture, the unemployment rate for older workers is 6.3 percent, which compares favorably to the national average of 9.0 percent. More ominously, the length of time that older workers are jobless has been climbing since 2008 and now exceeds 12 months, three months longer than the average time for all unemployed workers.

Moreover, although the number of Americans who are 50-plus and jobless remains around three million, this figure does not take into account: workers who have dropped out of the labor market due to discouragement; individuals forced to claim disability payments or Social Security at the earliest possible date because they cannot find jobs to support themselves; and, lastly, the growing numbers of boomers who are seriously underemployed.

For the past 15 months, Over 50 and Out of Work has been using video to chronicle the stories of older unemployed Americans, and we have now reached our goal of documenting 100 Stories. We have traveled to 16 states, focusing on the states suffering from the highest unemployment rates and interviewed people who have worked in all major industry groups in a diverse array of occupations.

We continue to stay in touch with our interviewees and track the progress of their job searches. Here is a brief summary of their outcomes to date:

Please click here to continue reading.

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Comments

Michael said:

Freelancers Could Make $930 Million In 2014 Thanks To This Economic Shift http://www.businessinsider.com/freelancers-earning-more-from-economic-shift-2014-6

Kevin said:

Folks, Guess I am like most of us over 50(I'm 59),fell victim to RIF(reduction in work force) in May of 2013 with a Company I had given 10 years of my life. I also Never had a problem getting a job before,actually was recruited for the position I was let go from . What I do not get is why don't these people realize that us older folks have forgotten more than than the current knows, school of Hard Knocks has no replacement ! knowledge is obtained ...not given!, I can remember my younger days when we respected the knowledge of the Elders and worked to do as they had taught us with Pride and compassion, we are a Loyal Generation ! look a what it has done for us ! Being told to stay positive....its getting harder each day as I watch All that I have worked for dwindle away...granted its only Material things and Money...can be replaced and down sizing is not a bad thing... but Gramps always told me 3 things Nobody can take away...your Pride..your integrity.. and Family..still got it Thank God and their support is Priceless...but with that said their is safety in numbers I am asking..how can we all mass again and start taking Care of US ??? There are to many of US to just let wither away...I am confused,thought I was raised to Pay forward and have as much as I could...now I find that is a Very rare occurrence,but It should not BE ..guess I am a little disappointed in the current situation and the lack of concern with the younger generation(All for ME)....Just Venting..Thanks...I'll be Back !

Margaret Guerra said:

Is it possible to enlist the help of the AARP in this cause? They are a large, powerful lobbying organization that acts in the interest of its members. Thought of it when I saw this article. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/3/22/is-the-aarp-the-900poundinvisiblegorillaintheroom.html

Shuaib Salam said:

I'm also jobless and I want all the jobless Americans to go to the site below and sign in to voice your concern. ThanQ https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/jobs-all-americans/L0XsX0SK

George M. said:

Reading these posts is like looking into a mirror. I was let go from a company that recruited me three years ago as a contracts coordinator and business development manager, then let me go when the new manager decided they could take the contracts I got for them and do the work without me. I have never in my life been unable to find work- until now. After working for more than twenty years in construction and mining where I wore a hard hat every day to work, I went back to school at age 39 and got my bachelors degree in business. Now I'm stuck with no job, student loan debt and unable to get unemployment. How did we, as a nation, get to this point? How can we accept 50 million people out of work as the new normal? Amy and Laurie, I know your pain, it is my pain also. I never thought I'd say this, but I really wish we could go back to the 80's again. There was so much more hope and opportunity. Graham, I have also though about ending it all, but I am too stubborn. I would not give the bastards the satisfaction. I would love to find a few more people like me who are willing to fight this thing out, and prove that we are worthy.

JOSEPH said:

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY!!!! MOST PEOPLE HATE THE JOBS OR PROFESSIONS THEY WENT INTO AND HAD TO DO THEIR WHOLE LIFE. DISCOVER YOURSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE. FIND OUT WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO THAT. FORGET ABOUT MONEY!!!!! JUST BE HAPPY!!!!!!! - FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!! SOMETHING BAD TURNED GOOD. GAME OVER!!!!!! TOUCHDOWN!!!!!

JOSEPH said:

WHAT EVER HAPPENED IN THE 60'S. IT SEEMS LIKE MOST OF THE BABY BOOMERS SOLD OUT TO CAPITALISM!!! NOW WE NEED TO ALL GET BACK TOGETHER AND PULL EACH OTHER UP BY OUR BOOT STRAPS. WE HAVE TO REINVENT OURSELVES!!! MOVE ON AND MOVE UP!!!! STOP CRYING AND MOVE TO PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE JOBS ARE. SELL OFF WHATS LEFT DOWN SIZE TO BE ABLE TO UPSIZE LATER. WHY DOES EVERYONE NEED SO MUCH CRAP ANYWAY. THE KIDS ARE GONE ENJOY YOUR LIFE EVERYDAY. YOLO!!!!!! YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!!!!!!! DID YOU EVER HERE A NAVY SEAL COMPLAIN????? GO SEE MOVIE LONE SURVIVOR-- MARK WAHLBERG

Graham said:

I have been unemployed for 4 years. I was a director at a company, have an MBA from the leading University in our country. My son was taken out of the country 5 years ago, and I had business partners who since they stole my shares have undermined my credibility and left me with no hope of ever getting a job. I live in a small room at the back of my sisters house, the one my mom left her. I have already made one attempt on my life, and even failed at that. People talk about God and I get angry, because even if there were a God then what kind of God would allow millions of people across the world to suffer such horrible pains. I fear the end is near for me and that I have no will left to try anymore. After so many years of struggle, I have finally given up

Mary Hansen said:

I am one of the lucky ones. I know this, but if I don't make changes soon, I won't be. I lost my job in 2011, and haven't found one since. My husband, who has been a contractor for many years, has seen his business dwindle to nothing. Two things have saved us. The first is my own considerable savings, which are now considerably dwindled but not gone. The second has been that my husband became eligible for Medicare when he was declared disabled after high-dose chemotherapy left him with mobility problems. His Medicare has probably been the biggest gift in this mess and the reason we are still solvent because it has paid for open heart surgery, tests and treatments for a recurrence of his lymphoma. Because of the intense medical issues, I've put off making some large decisions, like where do we go next, but the time to do that is now. I've frankly lost track of the number of jobs I've applied to but it's been so many for so long that I recognize those I have applied to two years ago when they show up again. One day this fall, while driving my husband to yet another post-op appointment, it really began to sink in that perhaps I am now retired; that maybe if I just gave in to the idea things would open up and I'd begin to see some new possibilities. So far, the only ones I've seen are that we need to get the hell out of this expensive house, half of which we don't even use, and out of this expensive city with expensive property and sales taxes. I'm seriously considering moving back to my home town, where the cost of living is much less and there seems to be less discrimination against hiring older workers. My husband continues to believe that his business will rebound and that I'll find another job here in town like the one I lost. He's wrong. It's time for us to move on, cut bait on the past and go make a new future. I am 60. I am so goddamned sick and tired of the discrimination we olders are all facing that I'm willing to sell just about everything I own not to have to put myself through that hell anymore.

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