Half of Older Workers Who Were Unemployed in Last Five Years Jobless Today
Despite recent improvements in job creation statistics and the nation’s unemployment rate, half of the people ages 45 to 70 who experienced unemployment during the past five years are not currently working, according to a survey conducted by AARP. Fifty percent of survey respondents reported they were either unemployed or had dropped out of the labor force. Among those who had become reemployed, nearly half said they were earning less than in their previous jobs.
The survey was sponsored by the AARP Public Policy Institute’s Future of Work@50 initiative. A report on the survey results, “The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work after Unemployment,” was released today at a Washington briefing and panel discussion on unemployment issues.
Selected highlights from the survey include:
- Half of Older Workers Who Experienced Unemployment in the Last Five Years Are Not Working: 38% reported they were unemployed and 12% had dropped out of the labor force.
- Half of Those Who Found Jobs Earn Less: 48% of the reemployed said that they were earning less on their current job than the job they had before they most recently become unemployed. Among the reemployed, half were earning less because they were being paid less, 10% were working fewer hours, and 39% gave both as reasons.
- Remaining Unemployed Longer Means Earning Less: 59% of the reemployed who suffered a long-term spell of unemployment were earning less in their current job, compared to 41% who had been short-term unemployed (see graph, above).
- Many Settle for Part-Time Work: 41% of those who experienced long-term unemployment are working in part-time jobs.
- Half Work in a New Occupation: 53% had an occupation different from the one they had prior to becoming unemployed. By way of comparison 63% of the long-term unemployed had a job in a different occupation, while 46% of the short-term unemployed were in a different occupation.
- Training May Help: 25% of the respondents who landed jobs and participated in training or education programs in the previous five years said it helped a great deal in finding a job.