Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Urban Institute Research Shows Increase in Older Worker Labor Participation Rates

Growing concerns about retirement income security appear to be leading to an increase in seniors’ labor force participation rates stems, according to a report from the Retirement Policy Program of the Urban Institute. "Rising Senior Unemployment and the Need to Work at Older Ages" also reports that unemployment rates for older workers reached record levels in 2009, partly because fewer workers eligible for early retirement benefits are dropping out of the labor force. With more older workers remaining in the labor force and searching for work after they lose their jobs, the there is an imperative for new policies that help address the special challenges that older job seekers face.
Unemployment has serious consequences at older ages. It usually takes older workers an especially long time to become reemployed. The earnings lost while out of work certainly make it more difficult for unemployed people to meet current spending needs. But unemployed older workers also forgo Social Security and pension credits and are less able to save, leaving them with less money in retirement. When older workers become reemployed, they usually end up earning much less than they did on their former jobs.
Among other things, the report calls for the federal and state governments to improve workforce development programs. They need additional funding and be redesigned to better serve workers of all ages. In addition, Congress could change Medicare secondary payer rules to require the federal health insurance program to provide primary coverage to workers age 65 and older with employer-sponsored health benefits, instead of forcing these older workers to rely primarily on their employer’s insurance.

Source: Urban Institute Press Release (September 23, 2009)

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)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

AARP Announces 2009 Best Employers for Workers over 50

AARP has announced its annual list of the 50 best employers in the United States for workers 50 and over, and, for the first time one employer--Cornell University--has repeasted as the top finisher.
“AARP is delighted that Cornell has placed first for the second year in a row in the Best Employers program,” said Deborah Russell, AARP’s Director of Workforce Issues. “The university is famed for its creative academic policies and its approach to 50 and over workers is no different. It has continued to innovate with new programs in the past year.”
Among the programs offered by Cornell, noted AARP, are a formal phased retirement program for faculty and staff, telecommuting and compressed work weeks, a retiree health and prescription drug plan heavily subsidized by the university, paid time off for care giving, and access for retirees to continued university education at no charge.

At AARP's Best Employers site, AARP has published its list of the top 10 innovative international employers and, for the first time, a separate hospitals and health care best employers honor roll.

Source: AARP Press Release (September 9, 2009)