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Older Workers Laid Off In Recession Still Struggling to Find Comparable Work

It’s been nearly four years since the end of the Great Recession was declared, yet a new survey shows that older Americans who were thrown out of work continue to struggle.

More than 600 workers ages 40 t0 69, who lost their jobs amid the downturn, took part in the annual Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies poll. Many say they’ve settled into positions that were below their skill level or pay grade, or made do with part-time work because they couldn’t find full-time jobs. They’re known as the underemployed and their numbers have risen substantially from last year. Here’s the age breakdown:

For years now, weak jobs growth has pitted too many workers against each other for too few jobs. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute says today’s stubbornly high 8.3 percent unemployment rate is due to a lack of demand for workers in all sectors. Still, older workers who were laid off amid the downturn and continue to be without work made some progress over last year, the poll found. But the figures were still high:

This won’t stun any of us but the poll also found that 63 percent of workers of all ages who lost their jobs amid the recession have been dipping into their retirement accounts to pay for daily living expenses. And there didn’t seem to be much in the way of retirement savings to begin with.

Tapping into retirement savings can have devastating consequences for the retirement outlook of older workers. The older you are, the fewer years you have left in the workforce to build back savings. The study broke down median retirement savings by age:

Looking for work? Find information and job-hunting resources on our web site and explore Work Reimagined, which connects job seekers with employers who have job openings – and who have committed to level the playing field for experienced workers

Photo credit: Paul Wansen via flickr.com