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The Employment Situation, March 2010: Unemployment Rate for Older Workers Dips Slightly

The employment situation for older workers appeared somewhat brighter in March 2010 than it had in February, according to this AARP Public Policy fact sheet.  Just over 2 million people aged 55 and over were without jobs and looking for work in March, 68,000 fewer than in February.  This brought the unemployment rate for this age group down to 6.9 percent from 7.1 percent the month before.

However, the average duration of unemployment for older jobseekers was nearly 3 weeks longer in March than in February—38.4 weeks compared to 35.6 weeks.  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.

In March, nearly 1.3 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; 260,000 were discouraged workers.  Discouraged workers are not looking for work because they believe that no work is available, that employers would find them too old, that they lack the necessary schooling or training, or that they face other types of discrimination.  At the start of the recession in December 2007, 53,000 older persons were classified as discouraged.

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