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Jobless Rate Jumps for Older Workers

Hiring stalls for all age groups as employers wait out uncertain times

Friday's report was a particular shock because a day earlier, analysts were buoyed by a report from the payroll processing company ADP that private-sector employers added 157,000 jobs in June. In addition, new claims for jobless benefits dropped during the week, to 418,000.

On the brighter side, corporate downsizing has leveled off. According to John Challenger, CEO of the consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the pace of this downsizing over the first half of this year was at its lowest level since 2000.

In June, the government sector reported the most layoffs, followed by the retail, financial services and aerospace industries, he said.

"The next three or four months of employment and hiring data will be important indicators of whether the expansion has prematurely hit the brakes or if the dips in job creation are simply bumps on the road to recovery," Challenger said in a statement.

'Mancession' leads to mancovery

While men were hurt disproportionately during the recession, causing some to dub it the "mancession," the recovery has favored them over women.

According to an analysis of government data by the Pew Research Center, men gained 768,000 jobs while women lost 218,000 jobs between June 2009 and May 2011. It's the first recovery since 1970 in which women lost jobs while men gained them.

Though the Pew report said it wasn't entirely clear why men fared better during the recovery, it suggested that more women were caught in the downsizing of federal, local and state governments. Women also lost more jobs than men in manufacturing, retail trade and finance, while more men than women regained jobs in manufacturing and professional and business services.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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