Wednesday, May 16, 2012

GAO Issues Report on Status of Unemployed Older Workers in the United States

The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report focusing on the status of unemployed older workers coming out of the recession. As a report to the Senate Special Committee on the Aging, the GAO's "Unemployed Older Workers: Many Experience Challenges Regaining Employment and Face Reduced Retirement Security" examines:
  1. how older workers’ employment status has changed since the recession,
  2. what risks unemployed older workers face and what challenges they experience in finding reemployment,
  3. how long-term unemployment could affect older workers’ retirement income, and
  4. what other policies might help them return to work and what steps the Department of Labor (Labor) has taken to help unemployed older workers.
The GAO concluded that "Although long-term unemployment hurts job seekers of all ages, it poses some greater challenges for older workers." Among other things, "older workers tend to stay unemployed longer, and those who regain employment generally sustain greater wage losses than do younger workers."

Without providing specifics, GAO recommended that, to foster the employment of older workers, the Secretary of Labor should consider what strategies are needed to address the unique needs of older job seekers, in light of recent economic and technological changes.
Labor agreed with our recommendation and noted a couple of its initiatives focused on the employment of older workers. Specifically, Labor cited its current evaluation of the Aging Worker Initiative demonstration project, which will assess the success of new interventions used by 10 local grantees to help connect aging workers with employment opportunities. In addition, Labor cited its sponsorship of the annual National Employ Older Workers Week that provides outreach opportunities for SCSEP grantees.
For an audio interview by GAO staff with Charles Jeszeck, Director, Education, Workforce & Income Security, go to GAO website.

Source: U.S. General Accountability Office Highlights (May 15, 2012)

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