Tough road for the older unemployed
A growing group of people age 55 and beyond are desperately looking for work.
They are a growing group, this category of people in their 50s and 60s who need some income to get through their last decade or so before retirement. They "are starting to worry that they may be discarded from the work force -- forever," Motoko Rich writes.
The unemployment rate for people age 55 or older is 7.3% -- twice what it was before the latest recession started, Rich writes. About 2.2 million people in this age group don't have a job.
It's heartbreaking to talk to people in this group -- people who have worked steadily for decades, only to see what should have been the zenith of their careers crumble under devastating layoffs. Now they're nervously sending out résumés and slowly selling their possessions to make house payments and pay bills.
The poverty rate in this age group is rising, from 8.6% in 2007 to 9.4% last year, the Times reports.
Experts tell Rich that these older workers could become a policy problem if they can't support themselves. "That's what we should be worrying about," one professor said, "what it means to this class of the new unemployables, people who have been cast adrift at a very vulnerable part of their career and their life."
For many of them, finding jobs means overcoming two formidable hurdles: conquering new technology and beating out younger candidates. Both can be very difficult.
"The longer someone is out of work, the more employers are going to question why it is that someone hasn't been able to find work," an AARP adviser told Rich. "Their skills have atrophied, for one thing, and technology changes so rapidly that even if nothing happened to the skills that you have, they may become increasingly less relevant to the jobs that are becoming available."
The opportunities that are available are limited by our own despair, disenchantment and and lack of a zest for life. For anyone who needs help, keep in mind that every positive in your life is an opportunity to build a new you.
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