The Wall Street Journal wrote an anecdotal article today entitled For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again. The crux of the article:
After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy’s recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.
Clearly, all age groups are suffering in this downturn. And older workers, once laid off, have a harder road to travel (although this is true whether there is a recession or not). This issue was addressed by Calculated Risk recently, and their table addresses this point:
Older unemployed Americans have a harder time with finding new jobs taking up to 2 months longer to find work. But being higher educated seems a headwind also.
Overall, my concern with this type of anecdotal article is that there is no context to quantify the problem.
The truth is that the number of non employed Americans over 55 has remained almost steady through this recession. It is people under 25 who are not losing their jobs – but are unable to break into the workforce in the first place – who is the group in the most trouble. These percentages were derived by dividing the civilian population of each age group into the BLS employment (from the population survey) for that age group.
This recession is preventing this under 25 group from starting a normal adult life by providing an income.