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Where the Jobs Are

The latest unemployment numbers show that the average 55+ worker is out of work for 55 weeks, compared to 39 weeks for younger workers. Want to increase your odds of landing a job in a rough economy with 9.1% unemployment?

One option is to broaden your scope and explore cities where jobs are more plentiful. Among the Top 10 metro areas for job seekers: Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, San Jose, Oklahoma City and Cleveland. (Yes, Cleveland! And Columbus is in the Top 10.) Nice to see some good news for the Buckeye State on the jobs front, isn’t it?

What if you can’t just pick up your family and relocate to a more job-friendly region? You’re not alone-and you may have more options than you think. 
Depending on the nature of your work, the value of your skills, and your personal situation, you might be able to negotiate a remote work option with a prospective employer.

Take Washington, D.C., for example. Many people who live in areas 2 to 3 hours away, from West Virginia to Richmond to southern Pennsylvania, have made telecommuting arrangements with their employers. Some travel to DC once a week or once a month for a few days, and work remotely the rest of the time. Others make the trek to the office more often, but use vanpools or take the train and leave the driving to someone else. Some use the commute time to work on their laptops.

Silicon Valley, in the top 10, wrote the book on teleworking with all their high-tech companies. There’s also a federal agency teleworker initiative, and some have specific telework targets for headquarters and for regional offices.

If you decide to pursue remote work, don’t pay an agency or individual who promises to find you a telework job; it’s likely a scam. Check out company names online and consult your state’s Better Business Bureau or State Attorney General’s Office to find out if there have been any complaints.

Check out these job resources for 50+ workers to increase your chances of getting hired, or consider part-time employment until something better comes along. It might be a good time to explore working for yourself, too.

Whether you work at home for yourself or for someone else, learn about the tax implications and other practical considerations. And www.AARP.org/work has other useful information to help you in today’s competitive job market.