Over 50 and Unemployed?

I wish we had better news for all the people out there who are unemployed or underemployed – especially for jobless people 50+.

One report citing September figures noted, “Good News for Older Jobseekers Remains Elusive.” That’s one way to put it. Depressing might be another-especially if you’ve been out of work for more than a year.

“Will I ever work again?” is a common thought for unemployed people over 50, many of whom have been jobless for an average of 55 weeks. A group called Over 50 and Out of Work featuries 100 video stories on its web site to help others understand the plight of the unemployed at 50+.

It may not help to know that others are in the same boat, although many have found support and friendships in online communities from people who know what they’re going through firsthand.

Some older job seekers are going for seasonal work for the holidays, hoping it will turn into something long-term. And it looks like there will be more competition than usual. According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive reported in AOL Jobs, 1 in 5 Americans plans on looking for a second job for the holidays.

Here are some resources designed for people 50 and over to help with your job search. Doing all you can to position yourself well when jobs are scarce is even more important given the ugly reality of age discrimination.

AARP has information, tools and programs to help older workers, whether you’ve been laid off or want to get into a more promising career field. Depending on your situation you may want to explore becoming your own boss or working part-time until something better comes along. You also may be eligible for more hands-on job search help through AARP Foundation’s WorkSearch program, with various locations around the country.

You can also learn more about age discrimination, from legal definitions to first-hand accounts. Find out what to do if you think you’ve been a victim, and what you’ll need to make your case. And learn about the AARP Foundation Litigation team’s work in this area.

An Inc. magazine article laid out the business benefits of hiring older workers, and tips for doing so. It noted: “Employees from this fast-growing group can be a smart way to bring expertise to a business. So why don’t more companies do it?” Good question. Hopefully more will.

Photo by Blue Jay Day via Flickr Creative Commons.