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Working Against Time in Tough Job Market | HispanicBusiness.com

3 February 2014—Sloan Center research economist was mentioned by Adam Belz, Star Tribune.

... The unemployment rate for workers over 55—while falling—is still higher than it was for 25 years before the Great Recession, at 5.1 percent. Older workers remain jobless on average for about a year, far longer than younger workers. Almost half of those over 55 who are unemployed have been so for six months or longer, a total of 761,000 people.

But unemployment is only part of the unwelcome picture. The number of workers over 55 who have dropped out of the labor force but say they still want a job is about 1.6 million, a 67 percent increase since 2007.

Fair or not, some employers question older applicants' energy and enthusiasm, their technical knowledge, and their willingness to work with young people. A general bias against the long-term unemployed also works against older workers who have been jobless for months or years.

"If the economy were roaring ahead, it would be an easier sell," said Kevin Cahill, an economist at the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College.

For decades, older workers commonly moved into what Cahill calls "bridge jobs" between their careers and retirement. But today, those jobs are less desirable, so more older workers are ending up in "bridge jobs" they didn't want.

"The difference, now, post-2008, is that a lot of these transitions are involuntary," Cahill said. "It's a huge shift, and it's the impact of the Great Recession."

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