Posted on 09 September 2009
By Mark Miller
The jobless rate for adults age 55 to 64 has more than doubled since November 2007, just before the recession began, according to an analysis of government jobs data by The Urban Institute. Unemployment rates doubled over the same period for adults over age 65. The national unemployment rate hit 9.7 percent in August.
The unemployment rate reached 7.2 percent in July for those age 55 to 64 and 7.0 percent for those age 65 and older, the highest rates since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating data by age in 1948, according to Urban Institute researchers Richard Johnson and Corina Mommaerts. Rates for both groups declined slightly in August, but remain high. There are 29 million workers over age 55 in the United States, they noted.
Unemployment rates have soared partly because fewer older workers are dropping out of the labor force now than in the past, Johnson and Mommaerts say. Older adults’ labor force participation rates fell during past recessions, but have increased steeply during the current downturn. This change likely reflects growing anxiety about retirement security.