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PPI Fact Sheet

The Employment Situation, October 2011

Hard to Find a Silver Lining for Older Workers

This AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheet highlights the employment situation for older persons as of October 2011.  At 7.0 percent, the October unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and older was an increase from September’s 6.7 percent.  Nearly 2.2 million older people were out of work and looking for a job in October.  Average duration of unemployment for older jobskeekers fell somewhat but still remained above one year. 

The number of employed older Americans and the employment-to-population ratio for the 55-plus population showed essentially no change between September and October.

Report Highlights:

  • At 7.0 percent, the October unemployment rate for the workforce aged 55 and over was an increase from September’s 6.7 percent.
  • The number of older unemployed rose by 81,000 to nearly 2.2 million in October. Older jobseekers make up more than 15.7 percent of the unemployed.
  • Average duration of unemployment for older jobseekers fell from 54.8 weeks to 52.9 weeks between September and October. Involuntary part-time employment declined as well.
  • Job growth must strengthen greatly to have a measureable impact on the employment prospects of older workers.

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