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AARP: Older Workers Continue to Face High Unemployment, Long Jobless Periods, Based on New Data

AARP Public Policy Institute Analysis Paints Bleak Picture in July

August 5, 2011

Contact: Media Relations, 202-434-2560


AARP Public Policy Institute Analysis Paints Bleak Picture in July

NOTE: To view a video response from AARP, go here:

Washington, DC –In the context of a troubling jobs picture for workers of all ages, older workers are buffeted not only by high unemployment but also by especially staggering jobless periods (“duration of unemployment”) as the economic “recovery” moves into its third year.

That is the bleak picture provided by the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) analysis today of the July unemployment report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AARP PPI’s analysis showed that, in July, older workers had an average duration of unemployment of more than one year, 52.7 weeks, compared with 52.4 weeks in June. In comparison, the average duration of unemployment for these workers at the start of the recession in December, 2007 was only 20.2 weeks.

The unemployment rate for older workers was 6.9 percent in July, compared with 7.0 percent in June and more than double the 3.2 percent rate in December, 2007.

The unemployment for the entire workforce was 9.1 percent in July, compared with 9.2 per cent in June.

“Older workers continue to struggle in the face of long periods of joblessness, with less hope today that they can find work quickly,” said Jeffrey R. Davis, AARP’s Senior Vice President of Media Relations. “Their situation is especially difficult against a backdrop of rising health care costs, reduced home values, and a loss in retirement savings—all of which impact their ability to achieve health and retirement security in the long run.”

Below are some key comparative figures July duration of unemployment statistics:
July average duration of unemployment (June in parenthesis)

55+ 52.7 weeks (52.4 weeks in June)
Under 55 36.5 weeks (35.6 weeks in June)

PPI will distribute a deeper analysis of July older worker unemployment later today. Please call AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or email if you would like to receive the full report or a QuickTime version of the AARP video response.


About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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