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Monday, September 20, 2010

Older Workers: Fears of Never Working Again

What does this say about plans to increase the age at which Social Security recipients can retire with full benefits (as opposed to other solutions such as raising the income cap that are progressive rather than regressive)? This is a worry in normal times as well, but what will we do when there's a recession and large numbers of the elderly but not yet retired cannot find jobs no matter how hard they try?:

For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again, NY Times: ...Since the economic collapse, there are not enough jobs being created for the population as a whole, much less for those in the twilight of their careers.

Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. ... After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy’s recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes. ...

Older workers who lose their jobs could pose a policy problem if they lose their ability to be self-sufficient. “That’s what we should be worrying about,” said Carl E. Van Horn, professor of public policy and director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, “what it means to this class of the new unemployables, people who have been cast adrift at a very vulnerable part of their career and their life.”

Forced early retirement imposes an intense financial strain, particularly for those at lower incomes. ... But even middle-class people who might skate by on savings or a spouse’s income are jarred by an abrupt end to working life and to a secure retirement. ...

People need jobs, or more social support until jobs appear, and both the Congress and the Fed are failing to do all that they can do to help. Apparently, imagined fears of deficits and inflation are more important than the real struggles of the unemployed.

    Posted by on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 01:08 AM in Economics, Social Insurance, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (43)


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