December 2012 marked the fifth year since the official onset of the Great Recession in December 2007 and more than three years since its official end in June 2009.
What does the picture look like for Americans aged 55 and older today?
More older people are in the labor force, either working or looking for work, than ever before — 40.7 percent, up from 38.9 percent just five years earlier — and more of them have jobs. This distinguishes them from their younger counterparts, fewer of whom are in the labor force or working than was the case five years ago.
These increases for the older workforce are part of a trend that began some twenty years ago. After decades of decline in the years following World War II, as men retired at earlier ages, the labor force participation rate of older Americans began to inch upward in the early 1990s. It has been rising ever since, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects further increases. And it isn’t just people in their late 50s or 60s who are remaining at or looking for work; it is a growing number and percentage of people over 75 as well.
But the past five years have hardly been rosy for all older workers, especially those who have lost their jobs. In many ways, Fred Sanford of Orlando, Florida is a typical unemployed older worker. He was nearly 58 when the market imploded after the housing bubble burst and he lost much of his “book of business” in the financial services industry. He has spent the past two and a half years looking for a job in finance but has had no luck to date.
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from