Job Market Brightens for Adults 55 and Over

Black businesswoman smiling in office

In recent years, Americans over 55 were considered to be the new unemployables. Now, Time reports that their career prospects are looking up. Just 4.1 percent of seniors are claiming unemployment, compared to 5.7 percent for the rest of the population.

This is positive financial and health news for seniors. A 2013 MetLife (MET)study showed that 40 percent of seniors strongly agreed that they would have to work beyond their planned retirement dates for their own financial benefit. Additionally, those losing their job after age 58 run a greater health risk that averages a loss of three years of life.

While long-term unemployment remains high for the demographic — 31.5 percent — some companies are expanding senior hiring efforts, and they’re revising returnship programs that have been criticized for short-training periods, low pay and strict criteria for applications.

AARP Is Pleased

Barclays (BCS) recently announced plans to expand its apprenticeships and look for candidates above 50 years old. Other companies with such programs include the Harvard Business School, MetLife and McKinsey. This shift indicates a need for reliable, flexible and experienced workers — something the AARP haschampioned for years.

Projections indicate that larger numbers of seniors will return to the workforce in the coming decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that people aged 75 and over will jump from 10.5 percent by 2022, while those aged 55 and older will make up 25.6 percent of the labor force at that time.

Seniors working part-time may soon be in for additional support as well. President Barack Obama has proposed broadening retirement plan coverage for part-time workers.

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