Duration of unemployment for older workers continues to lengthen


The national unemployment rate is stuck at 9.6 percent.  The unemployment rate for workers 55 years and older is 7.2 percent; a statistic that seems reassuring because it’s lower than the national average.

But the simple figure obscures the detail.  Older workers are continuing to confront record high levels of unemployment.   Moreover, the duration of unemployment for 55-plus workers is longer than national average, longer than for any other age group and growing longer, not shorter, despite the declared end to the Great Recession.

Last February, the average amount of time all workers were unemployed was 29 weeks, but it was 36 weeks for workers 55 and older.  By September, the average rose to 34 weeks for all workers and climbed to 42 weeks for workers over 55.

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