Recession Sends Retirees Back to the Job Market

Senior citizens are heading back to the workforce, thanks to the worst recession in seven decades and the global financial crisis.  According to a private study by Experience Works, 46 percent of the 2,000 low-income people 55 years and older surveyed had to work to avoid homelessness.  Approximately half had been looking for work for more than one year.

Although the study found that many respondents had not planned to work beyond their 60th birthday, many had to revise their plans after being laid off or following the death of a spouse.  More than one-third of the respondents had already retired.  Ninety percent of the responders older than 75 planned to stay in the job market for at least five additional years.

Department of Labor statistics from August indicate that there were 2 million unemployed workers older than 65, a 69 percent increase from the previous year.  The number of unemployed workers aged 75 and older grew by one third during the same timeframe.

“These people are at an age where they understandably thought their job-searching years were behind them,” said Cynthia Metzler, president and CEO of Experience Works.  “But here they are, many in their 60s, 70s and beyond, desperate to find work so they can keep a roof over their head and food on the table.  This study underscores the need to create policies that remove barriers to employment for older workers and provide additional programs and services specifically aimed at helping older people re-enter the work force or remain working.”