When Mark Simoneau finally landed a job interview last October, he had to borrow a car to get there. His rusty 16-year-old Mercury Grand Marquis needed a new transmission.
You might say Simoneau was rusty, too: He’d been either out of work or underemployed for four years. And he was 64 years old.
Simoneau’s age was significant: These days, 50-plus workers like him face brutal odds if they lose their jobs. Forty-four percent of jobless workers 55 or older had been unemployed for over a year in 2012, a Pew study reported. And while older workers have a lower unemployment rate overall, the ones who lose their jobs can find the long hunt for work unbearable.
Half of unemployed workers over 62 drop out of the labor force within nine months, according to an Urban Institute study. Worse: To pay the bills, they tap their Social Security years early, permanently cutting their benefits and imperiling their retirement security.
But getting people like Simoneau back to work can mean overcoming age discrimination. In a 2009 report from the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, hiring managers at state agencies listed a litany of stereotypes to explain why they tend to reject older job seekers: They felt these applicants were more likely to be burned-out, resistant to new technologies, absent due to illness, poor at working with younger supervisors and reluctant to travel.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at