Looking into the questions about how older workers are faring in the current economy and how their fate relative to younger workers compares to the past, researchers at Boston College have note that while labor force participation among older workers has been rising since the early 1990s, the edge that older workers used to have relative to younger workers when it comes to layoffs seems to have disappeared, so the rise in the unemployment rate for older workers in recessions now looks similar to that for younger workers.
According to "Recessions and Older Workers", authored by Alicia H. Munnell, Dan Muldoon, and Steven A. Sass, as the current recession deepens, the employment rate of older workers could fall well below its level at the peak of the previous expansion. On the other hand, these rates could again rise sharply when the economy recovers.
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Issue Brief No. 9-2 (January 2009)