Americans 55 and older are losing jobs

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IN SUMMARY: Employment for people 55 and older dropped 209,000 last month, the biggest such decline since February 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The monthly employment number tends to be volatile and the broader trend has been positive for older workers, experts say.

While the decline was notable, a one-month change hardly makes a trend. This age group still has the lowest unemployment level among all cohorts, with a 2.7% jobless rate in March unchanged from February. The overall unemployment rate held steady at 3.8% in March.

Older Americans are productive.

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Over the next decade, 43% of America’s workforce will reach age 65 and be eligible for retirement. This group of workers is the most educated, technically competent of any labor group ever available to American industry in history. Collectively, they represent an enormous bank of intellectual and institutional knowledge gained over a half century of technological advancement. Today, as a group, Baby Boomers — people born between 1946 and 1964 — form the largest trained pool of potential future employees available to American businesses.

Myths About Older Employees

1. Older Employees and Retirees Aren’t Interested in Work

2. Older Employees Can’t Handle the Physical Demands of a Job

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3. Older Workers Are Too Expensive

  • Lower Cost of Benefits. Retirees are generally covered by Medicare and therefore don’t require coverage in expensive company health insurance plans, which can add 25% or more to an employer’s cost.
  • Part-Time Status. Older workers are more willing and often prefer to work on a part-time basis, rather than full-time. As a consequence, an employer has great flexibility in scheduling work hours with or without job sharing.

A new study from North Carolina State University found that older programmers knew a wider variety of topics than younger colleagues did, answered questions better and were more adept at certain newer systems.

The greatest asset older workers bring is experience — their workplace wisdom. They’ve learned how to get along with people, solve problems without drama and call for help when necessary.

Originally published at on April 10, 2019.

Written by

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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