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.



Patricia said:

Teresa, your posting today, and if you are fired over what you posted today October 2, 2015 contact the EEOC in your area as you have a short window once a firing and/or retaliation occurs to talk with them. Statute to file a claim with the EEOC I do believe is 60 days from the date of the occurrence. -posted Oct. 3, 2015

Teresa said:

I have several issues at work. I'm 58 and believe I am suffering retaliation and age discrimination. I will give a thorough account later today. - posted Oct. 2, 2015

john said:

Kim, I come from a little bit different of a place I think then most of the people on this site. I am retired from the building trades after 30 years of work. However that does not mean I'm independently wealthy but I am luckier than many my age (53).Really the system has been rigged against older workers without a doubt. You are wise to organize similar to a union otherwise no one will listen to you and even then it will be a mighty challenge. Might I suggest once you organize you contact one of the democratic candidates for at least an affirmation of your existence and the plight of all older workers. As for myself since retirement I have been told either "no your a union guy " or "no you have to much experience you'll want to much money" And they really wonder why people are leaving the workforce. The disrespect ,uncaring profit driven corporations of today really are the reinvention of the robber barrons of the 20s.Well take care -good luck. -posted Sept. 12, 2015

Kim said:

Gina, I like the Facebook idea that would be a quick and easy setup we could make as our own launch. Why not do this as our own format and start our own Facebook page. Kim -posted Sept. 11, 2015

Gina said:

William, thanks for the encouragement. There is another Facebook website with the same name but they have problems organizing any kind of event. I think they are afraid of retaliation from employers. As far as anyone my age that are stuck in this situation, I don't know anyone. I'm pretty much on my own. - posted Sept. 10, 2015

William said:

Ann -- So very well stated. I had personally wished that we (the affected people), could come together without the need for, and aid of a formal organization; such as AMAC. I am just stymied by the tepid response for a call to mobilize...perhaps this is the wrong site to seek such support. What boggles my mind the most is the simple fact that it is "NO" secret what we are collectively experiencing is real. The present administration compiled 300 major corporations to pledge "not to discriminate when evaluating candidates based on age or term unemployed...." The pledge is not enforceable...and does absolutely nothing to assist those qualified get back to full productivity. Maybe AMAC is the way to go...thank you for your thoughts and efforts....please keep us informed. -posted Sept. 8, 2015

Ann said:

I am not quite 50 yet (48), but I've been thinking about this issue for quite some time and I believe that a few things are going on here: 1) There has been a systematic political push to weaken workers rights and bring down wages, and 2) Experienced workers who are likely to know their rights or protest illegal/unethical treatment of themselves or others are no longer welcome in the workplace, and 3) There is a resultant obsession with young workers and aliens, illegal or not (i.e. people who will do what they're told and simply appreciate having a job - any job. Sorry to paint such a grim picture, but I do believe that's the political climate we're up against. That said, I think there is always strength in numbers. Until recent years, AARP was an organization that acted as a force to advocate and legislate for older workers. They've now become useless and self-serving. However, there is an organization called AMAC (Association for Mature Adult Citizens) which right now is basically just an insurance company for older adults, but they lobby for the rights of people 50+ too. I wonder if they would be interested in serving the needs that AARP once did in becoming an organization that also advocates for work opportunities? One thing for sure, an individual out of work at 50+ can be ignored - a couple of million of them who are all in contact with one another and have a voice in Washington, D.C. can't. I am going to contact the public relations office at AMAC and float this idea by them. - posted Sept. 7, 2015

William said:

Hi Kim (All) - Kim...we are really not making progress. I was overly optimistic in my post. Think about it; begging for support. This is why there is no positive change in the job market for the long term unemployed. The numbers say it all...like stories of struggle...but no physical presence. We live in a time of instant communication and are unable to organize as effectively as folks did in the 1930's. The problem is...people continue to "get by"....credit cards...friends, family and enough of a government handout that one does not go hungry, and simply accepts the "new normal". I am not hopeful for moving this effort forward. - posted Sept. 3, 2015

Frank Dillon said:

William - Please feel free to email me anytime at mailbox@frankdillon.com I am more than happy to help build a website - I'm not a professional web developer but I've built many sites in the past including Joomla sites (a format that would be ideal for our needs). - posted Sept.3, 2015

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