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PPI Fact Sheet

The Employment Situation, November 2011

Unemployment Down; Fewer in the Labor Force

This AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheet highlights the employment situation for older persons as of November 2011. 

The unemployment rate for people aged 55 or older also fell sharply, from 7.0 percent in October to 6.4 percent in November. Although still double what it was (3.2 percent) at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, November’s unemployment rate for this age group was at its lowest since February 2011.

The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent between October and November; the rate has not been this low since March 2009. About 13.3 million people aged 16 and over reported that they were out of work and looking for a job in November, a decline of almost 600,000 since October.

Report Highlights:

  • At 6.4 percent, the unemployment rate for the workforce aged 55 and over in November was down from October’s 7.0 percent and at its lowest level since February 2011.
  • After increasing in October, the number of older unemployed fell by 183,000 to 2.0 million in November.
  • At the same time, the labor force participation rate for the 55-plus population fell from 40.5 percent to 40.3 percent.
  • Average duration of unemployment for older jobseekers rose from 52.9 weeks to 58.2 weeks between October and November.
  • More robust job growth is needed to get sizable numbers of the unemployed back to work.

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