For Americans searching for jobs after age 50, finally some hope. The unemployment rate for those age 55 and over decreased from 7 percent in June to 6.7 percent in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s well below the overall unemployment rate of 9.4 percent in July and represents a decrease of approximately 83,000 unemployed older workers since June.
The length of time baby boomers and seniors remained unemployed also fell. The typical older worker was unemployed for 28.6 weeks in July, down from 29.9 weeks in June. That’s still far longer than the typical younger worker remained jobless, but the duration of the job search among young people is growing. Those under age 55 were out of work for an average of 23.4 weeks, up from 21.4 weeks in June. The number of seniors out of work for 27 weeks or more was virtually unchanged from 39 percent last month, while the amount of younger workers dealing with long-term unemployment increased from 26 percent in June to 31 percent in July.
About 940,000 more people age 55 and over had jobs in July than were employed at the start of the recession. Meanwhile, the total number of Americans in the workforce fell by 6.3 million over the same period. “The employment situation for older Americans was far from rosy in July… but their situation could have been bleaker, as it has been in many months over the course of this recession,” says Sara Rix, a policy analyst with AARP's Public Policy Institute, in an analysis of the latest Labor Department numbers. Most of the seniors who found new jobs were men, who saw their unemployment rate drop 4 percent over the past month. Unemployment among older women increased by 11 percent.