As I was checking the various news sites this morning, I came across this article at the Boston Globe:
A number of older job seekers are finding that their age is working against them during this painfully slow recovery. People age 55 and older are unemployed for a year on average — more than two months longer than younger workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some employers are scared away by the higher pay and health care costs that can come with hiring older workers, as well as the perception that an older hire may not be motivated to learn new skills.
The US economy added far more jobs than expected last month, according to data released yesterday by the Labor Department, but there are still more than 13 million people out of work. The unemployment rate for workers over age 55 is lower than the overall national average, partly due to the number of people in that age bracket who decide to retire, but those forced out of work before their planned retirement, and who don’t have enough to live on, are putting added strain on the government and the economy.
From 2007 to 2009, the number of 63-year-olds filing early for Social Security jumped by nearly 20 percent, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. Among 62-year-olds, it was up 42 percent. Not only are those people collecting less money, they’re also not paying taxes on employment income and are more likely to apply for other government aid, said director Andrew Sum.
Now, I’m nearly 59 years old (next month), and as I read the article, the stories being told are quite familiar. And not just the stories of excuses offered by employers why the applicant was not acceptable, but the recommendations the “experts” make for the older worker to overcome. Employers can’t legally come straight out and claim our age is why we’re not even getting interviews, much less job offers but I and everyone in my age group who is un or underemployed know the signs.
Of course, as Peterr noted at Firedoglake last week, new graduates aren’t being shown that many opportunities either:
Note: these are the folks who are fresh out of school, and so in theory ought to have all the right up-to-date training that older unemployed folks may need. Kind of puts a lie to the whole “we need to get folks retrained for the new economy, and that will take care of the jobs problem,” doesn’t it?
So if the new grads with the up-to-date skills aren’t getting jobs, why should I believe getting newer skills will result in a job offer for me? One of the folks interviewed noted that the younger students in classes seemed to grasp the technology a little easier but then noted that the older folks seemed to see the total picture easier. Meaning that everyone has both strengths and weaknesses.
As I have noted from time to time on these posts, I’m actually fairly fortunate. My health is generally good. I’ve been without health care for seven years now and worked my way through one case of the flu. My biggest health expense was having to go to the emergency room early one Saturday in 2005 to get my hand stitched up after slicing it open while opening a can of cat food (although I could use some serious dental work since I keep breaking teeth off in the lower left hand side of my jaw).
The most interesting point made in the Globe article for me, was the fields of some of the people quoted – IT, Software Quality Assurance, Semiconductor design, Quality Control. All job fields that have been ‘leaders’ in fields that are outsourced. Technology jobs. The types of jobs we supposedly need new skills to get.
Then we come to the recommendations from the ‘experts.’ Remove jobs from your resume so you don’t show as much experience. Dye your hair. Excuse me? Dye my hair? I’m bald and even if I still grew out the fringe, dyeing the fringe isn’t going to make me look younger!
Friday’s NY Times had this article comparing the Great Recession with one from the ’70s after the first Oil Price sticker shock as the two longest recessions since the Great Depression of the ’30s. It seems the stock market has recovered faster but the overall economy has not. Gee, what a surprise. From the article:
TO judge by the stock market, the recovery from the Great Recession is much stronger than the one after the early 1970s recession, which followed the first oil price shock.
But by most other measures, the current recovery is far weaker.
Still, the overall economy, as measured by gross domestic product, rose less than 5 percent in the two years after the market hit bottom, compared with a gain of almost 7 percent during the comparable period in the 1970s.
Personal income, adjusted for inflation and excluding government transfer payments, is up less than half as much as it was in the earlier period. And while private sector employers added jobs at the fastest pace in five years over the last three months, there are still fewer jobs than there were when the stock market bottomed, according to Friday’s employment report for April.
Now whoever could have anticipated that the stock market is disconnected from the rest of the economy? Maybe anyone outside of Wall St and the Beltway Village? But we know we need not worry. After all, the President, Congress and the various state and local governments are all on the job, right?
And because I can:
Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy