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The Employment Situation, November 2009: Welcome Drop in Overall Unemployment Does Not Extend to Older Workers

November 2009 was not a good month for the aged 55-plus worker, according to this AARP Public Policy fact sheet.  Although the overall unemployment rate fell from 10.2 percent to 10 percent, older workers did not experience a similar decline.

The unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and over rose to 7.1 percent in November from 7 percent in October.  Until this year, the unemployment rate for the 55-plus age group had not exceeded 6 percent since September 1949. It has been well above 6 percent for much of 2009.

Unemployed older workers spent more time looking for work in November than they did in October: average duration of unemployment for job seekers aged 55 and older rose from 33.5 weeks to 36 weeks.  Over half of older unemployed persons were long-term unemployed, that is, they had been out of work for 27 or more weeks.

The number of older persons who could be classified as job-seeking discouraged rose sharply in November as it had in October.