Facing everything from retirement woes to cash-strapped kids, it has been well-reported that older Americans are some of the hardest hit by a lingering recession and rising health care costs.
And now, according The Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett, things just got a little worse for mature Americans looking for work. The reporter blogged in her article “Older Jobseekers Face An Uphill Climb” about the staggering 2 million unemployed people in the U.S. who are over the age of 55.
The “Uphill Climb” of Unemployment
“Although the unemployment rate for people 55 and older dropped from 7.1 to 6.9 percent in March, the AARP Public Policy Institute reported that the average duration of unemployment for older jobseekers was almost three weeks longer in March than it had been in February, and was substantially higher than the 31.1 weeks for the unemployed under age 55,” reported Bassett.
Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues for AARP, told Bassett that “older jobseekers are facing a number of challenges that their younger counterparts are not. ‘Many older unemployed people we've talked to have found themselves unemployed for the first time in a really long time," Russell said. "The job search process has changed significantly. Jobs are now being posted online instead of in newspapers, so you have to post your resumé online, and that's a challenge for older job seekers. And let's not forget that there continues to be bias out there with respect to the capabilities of older workers.’”
In fact, according to the latest statistics released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “more than 45,000 charges of age discrimination were filed in 2008 and 2009, up from about 30,000 in 1999 and 2000.” What’s more, these surprisingly numbers don’t include the many cases in which mature citizens were immediately disregarded because of their age during the interview process.
This discrimination is compounded by other sources of this modern, yet mature, financial meltdown, including:
Retirements on Hold
The stock market meltdown of 2008 continues to stifle retirement and other investment savings, and, in today’s job market, returning to full-time work as a retiree is no longer a dependable option. As a result, devastating debt burdens pile up quickly for jobless seniors no longer receiving regular income.
Humbling Health Care Costs
Even with recent health reforms, the combination of ailments of aging and present drug costs creates a perfect storm of ballooning bills for seniors already facing inflated prices.
Multiple Mortgages and High Home Equity Loans
Merely refinancing during the real estate boom can now mean massive mortgage debts for aging Americans suffering from depleted resources in this abysmal housing and job market.
Peak Predatory Lending
Seniors are often targeted for payday loans and foreclosure scams that take advantage of their traditional desire to pay off their debts—albeit now at unmanageable and exploitative rates.
Kids today…from college-age to middle age, are also struggling, putting aging parents in a precarious position to aid their offspring at, quite literally, their own expense. Add that with the high costs of college, and there’s little left in senior nest eggs.
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