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Older Workers Continue to Face High Unemployment, Long Jobless Periods

In the context of a troubling jobs picture for workers of all ages, older workers are buffeted not only by high unemployment but also by especially staggering jobless periods (“duration of unemployment”) as the economic “recovery” moves into its third year.


That is the bleak picture provided by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) analysis of the July unemployment report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


AARP PPI’s analysis showed that, in July, older workers had an average duration of unemployment of more than one year, 52.7 weeks, compared with 52.4 weeks in June. In comparison, the average duration of unemployment for these workers at the start of the recession in December 2007 was only 20.2 weeks.


The unemployment rate for older workers was 6.9% in July, compared with 7.0% in June. That was more than double the 3.2% rate in December 2007. The unemployment rate for the entire workforce was 9.1% in July, compared with 9.2% in June.


“Older workers continue to struggle in the face of long periods of joblessness, with less hope today that they can find work quickly,” said Jeffrey R. Davis, AARP’s senior vice president of Media Relations. “Their situation is especially difficult against a backdrop of rising health care costs, reduced home values and a loss in retirement savings—all of which impact their ability to achieve health and retirement security in the long run.”


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.