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.



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

Kim said:

Hi All, I'm so happy to see we are making progress! We all need to support each other in this endeavor. - posted Sept. 2, 2015

William said:

For Kim - Kim...please encourage your friends to post (stress for everyone to be respectful and dignified...this is so very serious). We are slowly gaining momentum. Gina and Frank are on board. Short term goal is to transition to a free standing website. Brainstorm thoughts....ideas....etc. - posted Aug. 31, 2105

William said:

For Gina - Gina...hang in there; you are "counted in"! Everyone is counted IN. I think that the site has served us all well for sharing our common experiences...it is now time to be proactive. You will notice the Frank has offered to help with building a website. Please tell your friends to post here (overfiftyandoutofwork)...this will give us momentum to eventually transition to a freestanding site. In the meantime do your best to maintain your health and brainstorm about how we grow this effort. The goal is to present ourselves with the utmost dignity...we need to show the world that we are good people and a wasted resource. Continue to write :) - posted Aug. 31, 2015

William said:

For Frank - Ditto on the "Illegitimi non carborundum.".... even though I must admit that I do feel a bit worn down ;) - posted Aug. 31, 2015

William said:

For Frank (and all) - Frank...this is good! I am not a web developer, but at the same time do not want to burden a single individual such as yourself with all of the heavy lifting. Are you comfortable with exchanging email addresses...not sure if this is the platform to do so, but need to establish some reliable mode of communication. After connecting, I suppose that we move toward a stand alone site; provide a link to the new site to overfiftyandoutofwork and gain supporters that way. What are your thoughts? (I think that we need to act quickly...concerns for winter weather). - posted Aug.31, 2015

Frank said:

William - I salute your refusal to give in. If you need any help with a website or anything else for that matter - please let me know. Illegitimi non carborundum. - posted Aug. 30, 2015

Gina said:

I don't know about the rest of you but I'm exhausted. I have been out of work since 2008. I used to make a good pay. I have only been able to find temp work, on and off and it's back breaking. My marriage was destroyed because I couldn't cope with not having a job. I had to sell my house. My retirement fund is destroyed and each day, I wake up and scour the job boards. I keep telling my daughter, you don't play, you don't win. I have taken classes and tried to add to my resume. I've done all I can. And all we do is blame the individual, pull yourself up by your boot straps. Blah, blah blah. If you organize, then count me in. At least it would bring it to the forefront. The media won't do it. A march on Washington is what we need. - posted Aug. 30, 2015

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