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Unemployment Rate for Older Workers Increases Again

The employment situation for older workers deteriorated in February 2010, according to this AARP Public Policy fact sheet.  More than 2.1 million people aged 55 and over were without jobs and looking for work in February, 118,000 more than in January.  This brought the unemployment rate for this age group up to 7.1 percent from 6.8 percent the month before.

Unemployed older workers spent about the same amount of time looking for work in February as they did in January.  Average duration of unemployment was 35.6 weeks in February compared to 35.9 weeks in January.  Half of these older job seekers had been out of work for six months or more, more than double the 23 percent at the start of the recession in December 2007.

Somewhat fewer than 1.4 million older persons reported that they would like to be working but were not in the labor force, that is, they were neither working nor looking for work.  Almost 290,000 were discouraged workers; they were not looking for work because they believed that no work was available, employers would find them too old, they lacked the necessary schooling or training, or that they faced other types of discrimination.  This number was an increase of 22 percent since January.