The Great Recession Continues for Unemployed Boomers

My June column for

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.



Theresa said:

I too have been in the allied health field and even with an impressive resume I am not invited for interviews. I will try to focus on the positive and look to where my experience and sage will lead me. I need to work also...this break did not plan for is getting old. I have energy and talent - but seems "they' want underexperienced 20 year olds?

Sue said:

We did make a documentary called SET FOR LIFE that was shown on public television in 2012. We did not make any $ from it. You can watch it at no cost here:

Sandra said:

Hi I'm 54 and lost. The kids are grown and I don't know what to do. I'm losing my motivation every day. I don't have a college education. I have worked as a surgical dental assistant but they feel I'm over qualified or there looking to train someone younger. The last job I had was on a farm packing eggs I guess I didn't fit in with my 2015 Jeep. Look, I'll do anything. I just want something to do. The boss kept telling me I look to clean for the job I was politely let go. I don't no were to fit in. I just want to stay in my house, and do nothing. I lost my motivation. - posted Feb. 5, 2016

K.A. Brown said:

Many people in here are struggling financially. Yet, we shouldn't fall prey to our situation. I'm quite sure each and everyone of us are GOOD at something. Try something...write a book, start a blog, start an online business, but DO something. God works in mysterious ways. After all, a job is a man-made concept. Money is a man-made concept. Personally, I believe this entire system is slowly unraveling right before our eyes. - posted Feb. 5, 2016

Patricia said:

Mike this is Patricia and I am responding to your post today February 4, 2016. What has happened to any one of us is such I ask myself how I have gotten this far and I agree with the recent postings that voices need to be heard all across this country as yes "we are the forgotten" and I have been saying it a very long time, trust me there. As the younger folks pull together for that $15 an hour increase all across this country, we, "the forgotten" need to do the same, STAND UP AND LET VOICES BE HEARD AND ASK WHAT IS TO DONE FOR ANYONE OF US IN THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE WE DO INDEED NOW HAVE FALLEN INTO" Initiative to gather the group and the date and then the hard part TO SHOW UP AND LET VOICES BE HEARD, THINK ABOUT IT -posted FEb. 5, 2016

Chas said:

Bill and Donna I agree we need to organize somehow---how? I don't know. I can barely afford gas, my car's brakes are squeaking and needs repair. Anyway, lets all brainstorm, I find myself coming to this site daily because there's not anyone who understand who demoralizing this is to live this way. Thank you all for sharing your pain. Who are these people hosting this website anyway? Are they selling our stories? Why isn't there some kind of documentary? ...feeling exploited - posted Feb. 5, 2016

lorraine said:

I do feel everyone here. In two years i'll be 50. Iv'e been unemployed for over 5 yrs .i live in a low income housing homes with the housing single and bearly getting by. Ive tried to get jobs here and there. It seems that when it comes to my age . I feel they see it as to old! I say !!! Why????? Not hire someone that will love to come to work each day of work. And that would be on time would'nt call off work. Unless their was a death. And needs a job to live and to get by day after day .and use the hard working money the way it should be spent on .being happy to go to work on the day you got paid.willing to work overtime. But all i see is most jobs end up hireing the ones that dont want to be there.lazy ,late, i say!!!! Hire the ones that will love to be at work .and be on time.willing to go that extra day or hours because the young one called off right.I say!!!!! the fiftys will work !!!!! - posted Feb. 5, 2016

Mike said:

I can relate to just about everyone posting here. We're all telling pretty much the same story. I came across another article that stated the Senate has a committee looking into this age discrimination. So, I guess we'll maybe, just maybe see some sort of action in maybe twenty...thirty years? I feel as if we're the forgotten generation and yet, we're one of the largest. Myself, I don't know what to think anymore. I don't know what to apply for and I'm losing steam to continue applying for even more that I will get Dear John emails on. Yes, emails. Nothing is even personal nowadays. Computer bots are filtering us right out of the employment pool before we even get a chance to show our show the we come to work on show that we don't take unnecessary sick show that we actually work faster and harder than a lot of our younger counterparts. I just don't know what to say...don't know what to say anymore...that matters. - posted Feb. 4, 2016

Bill said:

Donna - I agree that travel to Washington is prohibitive for most. Your suggestion to establish a national day of protest made up of those affected (unemployed and over "40") be coordinated in all areas of the country, is one that we should all support. - posted Feb. 3, 2016

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