Older Unemployed Remain Out of Work Longer

It’s difficult for older workers to find jobs comparable to the positions they lost.

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Older workers are less likely to be involuntary out of work than their younger counterparts. The unemployment rate for those age 55 and older was 7 percent in April, well below the 9.9 percent of all Americans who are out of work. However, when older workers lose their job they have more difficulty finding a new one than younger workers.

[See 6 Reasons More Americans are Delaying Retirement.]

The typical unemployed worker age 55 and older had been looking for work for 43 weeks in April, up from 38 weeks in March. And over half (57 percent) of unemployed older workers have been job hunting for 6 months or more. Unemployed workers under age 55 typically found work 8 weeks faster than the older workers. Younger job hunters typically found work within an average of 35 weeks in April.

[See 30 Fast-Growing Careers for Older Workers.]

“Things have been very tough for older jobseekers. Duration of unemployment for persons aged 55 and older has soared since the start of the recession and remains higher than for younger workers,” according to an analysis by Sara Rix of the AARP Public Policy Institute. “Those numbers do not paint a rosy picture for millions of older Americans, many of whom may never find jobs comparable to the ones they have lost since December of 2007.”

Approximately 2.1 million people age 55 and over were unemployed in April, 52,000 more than in March.