Joblessness Lasts Longer When You’re Older

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Many baby boomers encountered long stretches of unemployment during the economic downturn, and many are still having a tough time finding work.

Unemployment doesn’t get easier just because you have a longer resume. If anything, age makes it harder to find work again.

The New York Times recently updated the situation of Michael Blattman, who lost his $150,000-a-year job in 2008, when he was in his late 50s. It took him 26 months to find a new one, and that’s after he was featured in the Times and in an NBC News special about baby boomers struggling in the bad economy. Currently he’s teaching business courses full time at a U.S. Army base in Germany for the University of Maryland.

The economy was really rough on older workers who were laid off. “At the worst of the economic downturn, it took an average of 13 months for a 55- to 64-year-old to find work, versus seven months for a 20- to 24-year-old and nine months for those 25 to 34,” the Times said.

Things haven’t gotten much better for older workers since then:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics told the Times that the average unemployed 55- to 64-year-old who got a job last month had been without work for nearly a year, compared with six months for someone in their early 20s.
  • The number of people 45 and older who have been without work for more than a year has quadrupled since 2007, The Boston Globe says. They now account for nearly half of the 3.5 million Americans out of work that long.

It seems so unfair and counterproductive. A 2012 AARP survey found that self-reported overall health and happiness increases with age, The Huffington Post says, and that people in their 60s are often perfectly capable and eager to work.

If you need help finding work after age 50, check out the video below for advice.

Stacy Johnson

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