Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Research: Lower Income Unemployed Older Workers Facing Economic Crisis

ExperienceWorks has released a research report finding that 46% of low-income unemployed workers age 55 and older need to find jobs so they don’t lose their homes or apartments, and approximately half (49%) have been looking for work for more than a year. The research was based on a survey of 2,000 people enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

According to "Overlooked and Underserved: The Crisis Facing America’s Older Workers, 38% of these older workers had retired but they are going back to work, and many have no end in sight for their working years. For those who do have a retirement time frame, the average targeted retirement age is 72. In addition, 90% of survey respondents age 76 and older plan to continue working in the next five years.
“These people are at the age where they understandably thought their job searching years were behind them,” said Cynthia Metzler, president and CEO of Experience Works. “But here they are, many in their 60s, 70s and beyond, desperate to find work so they can keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.” Forty-six percent of these older job seekers say they sometimes have to choose between paying rent, purchasing food or purchasing medication.
In addition, according to the report, older workers say the poor economy and age related barriers including lack of the necessary training are the most significant challenges they face to finding employment. 73% strongly agree or somewhat agree that their age makes it difficult for them to compete for jobs with younger workers.
“This study underscores the need to create policies that remove barriers to employment for older workers, and provide additional programs and services specifically aimed at helping older people re-enter the workforce or remain working,” said Metzler. “These actions will benefit everyone because training programs such as the SCSEP have proven to be successful in helping unemployed older workers transition to unsubsidized employment.” The SCSEP, which is the only federal program designed specifically for older low-income workers, is currently funded to serve less than 1 percent of the eligible population.
Source: Experience Works Summary (September 22, 2009)

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