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Older workers more likely to face long-term unemployment

March 9, 2012: 12:06 PM ET
elderly unemployment

Older workers face longer periods of unemployment.

Landing a new job is not easy if you are 50+ and unemployed.

While it's less likely for an older American to be unemployed, once they lose their job, the future is grimmer.

More than half of older unemployed workers were out of a job for more than six months in 2011, according to a new study from the National Employment Law Project. And four in 10 were jobless for at least one year.

This age group suffered the largest spike in unemployment lasting one year or more.

Workers ages 50 to 61 were one-third less likely than workers ages 25 to 34 to find a new position within 12 months of job loss, said NELP, citing Urban Institute research. Those over age 61 were half as likely.

Many of these folks also can't afford to retire, especially since fewer companies offer guaranteed pensions these days.

The fate of older workers is also increasing in importance since their share of the population is growing as the Baby Boom generation ages. The share of workers age 50 and older is expected to rise to 35% by 2020, up from 32% today.

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