This AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheet highlights the employment situation for older persons as of December 2010. The overall unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent. The unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and older fell as well, dropping to 6.9 percent from 7.2 percent in November. Older men and women both saw a decline in their unemployment rate between November and December—from 8 percent to 7.2 percent, or by 10 percent, for men and from 6.2 percent to 5.8 percent, or by 6.5 percent, for women Nearly 2.1 million persons in this age group were unemployed in December, 96,000 fewer than in November.
The average duration of unemployment for jobseekers aged 55 and older declined from 44.9 weeks in November to 42.8 weeks in December. As of December, more than half —55.5 percent—of these jobseekers had been out of work for 27 or more weeks, down from 57.6 percent in November.
Most older persons (97 percent) who are out of the labor force continue to say that they do not want a job. The number of older discouraged workers had fallen sharply in November but rose in December by 10 percent, from 280,000 to 308,000. The number of older involuntary part-time workers also rose in December.