Worried about career bust?

Tens of thousands of metro Atlantans over 55 have been especially hard-hit by the recession and ensuing weak recovery, AJC staffer Dan Chapman reports.

The jobless rate for over-55 Americans hit 7.3 percent in August — a level not seen in at least 60 years of federal record-keeping.

The unemployment rate for older workers is lower than the overall rate, but it has risen faster this recession than for any other age group, Chapman writes.

And no other cadre stays unemployed as long as older Americans, who in many cases have deeper financial obligations and less time than younger workers to regroup from the loss of steady income, Chapman reports.

Those lucky enough to find work are unlikely to make what they previously earned, further crimping a once-comfortable retirement scenario.

Are you in this group? What has your job-hunting experience been? Think your age has gotten in the way of landing a job?

Do you have any good tips?

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30 comments Add your comment

TnGelding

September 28th, 2010
6:39 am

The ones in a position to retire need to go ahead and do so.

A.S.Mathew

September 28th, 2010
7:56 am

As a small carpet business person and seninor citizen, I was making a comfortable living, but
everything is gone for months. Personally, I know many company owners to get a job, but there
is no job anywhere. So, it is a non-win situation, and now simply finding peace and joy in prayer and
trusting in God for every day supply. The economy gives pain and disappointment, but God gives
strength and hope every day to move forward by faith in His eternal promises.

shadow7071

September 28th, 2010
8:28 am

Regardless of age, unemployment in Ga is bad. In August we saw an up-tick in the unemployment rate of the state and Atlanta. During this same period both Tennessee and Alabama saw their unemployment rates continue to decline. What gives? Why can neighbors Tennessee and Alabama put people to work and we can’t? I think the main reason is that these two states aggressively pursue new business. They actively seek out and attractive businesses to relocate to their states. While we in Ga. are waiting for the real estate boom to return.

Mona

September 28th, 2010
10:09 am

As long as there is Affirmative Action, the most stupid and unqualified among us will NEVER have to worry about being without a paycheck.

itsme

September 28th, 2010
10:24 am

At age 59 and out of work for more than a year… beyond worried… helpless and hopeless.

marl

September 28th, 2010
10:32 am

I’ve already lost my home and car. I send out my resume. every day for positions I know I ‘m qualified for, I’ve had 5 interviews in the last year. I see their faces when I walk in, I’m always told I have a good resume, I must have for them to call, but the look when we meet face to face. I thought I was reading too much into it but now I know I am not. They would rather hire a younger, less experience person than me. Too old to work to young to retire

john

September 28th, 2010
10:45 am

Absolutely my age has gotten in the way of finding a new career. I lost my job two years ago when my company sent my division to Mexico. I am 59 years old with a college degree and years of managerial experience gained working with large, multinational companies. I’m also a young 59, having stayed in shape working out over the years so it’s not like I’m some decrepit old guy on a walker. Doesn’t matter. Just like all of the things you have read about and heard about regarding over 55 workers I too have sent in many, many resumes without success, without even an interview. I understand that there is a glut in the worker market and that there are many people competing for each job but in the 55 and older category (actually you can even reduce that to the 45 and older category) there is widespread discrimination going on out there. These companyies know that it is very difficult to actually prove however and they also know that very few of us will have the resources or the energy to go after them through the courts so they will continue to deny us the right to work and earn a living. What will this country do with the millions of us who soon will be out on the street after we have exhausted our savings, lost our homes, and have nowhere to go? I don’t see that question even being addressed, much less answered, but it is a crisis and it is coming. I guess the solution for those of us 55 and older is to just go away somewhere and die so that we won’t be such an inconvenience.

Mary

September 28th, 2010
10:45 am

Everyone is having a hard time. I have been out of w ork for over a year and a half and I am still trying to get interviews. I’m only 42 and cannot retire. I have account manager experience and I’m great at meeting deadlines and keeping things organized, but it seems employers are not impressed by that.

Still Looking

September 28th, 2010
10:45 am

I just turned 50 two weeks ago. I have been unemployed since January 28th. I had never been unemployed since the age of 16. I live alone, have no kids, and I own a home and car. I can’t pay my bills, and I have never lived beyond my means….my mortgage is under $900. I don’t sleep, and the days are getting shorter. There is a feeling of hopelessness that plagues me every waking hour. I have faith in God. I do. But I don’t even recognize the guy who stares blankly back at me in the mirror. I had credit scores n the 700’s and had never paid a bill late in my life. No more. I can’t get a job with any financial institution due to my current personal credit status. I worked as a Sr. Mortgage Manager for almost 6 years. Am I worried? I have all the faith in the world that this will eventually turn around, but I am close to being carless and homeless. This side of the rainbow is not fun and unchartered waters for me. My unemployment ($1300 per month) barely covers the essentials like car insurance, utilities, gas and food. Paying my mortgage or car note is not possible. Am I worried? I need a job. I want a job. I have sent out several hundred resumes, and not even an interview. I know there are not a ton of people looking to hire a 50 year old, even with vast experience. I have only had two jobs in the last 20 years. I am stable and a difference maker. None of that matters. I have been reduced to being a piece of paper amongst a stack of others who are in the same situation. 15 million unemployed Americans. I have no health insurance, so getting injured or sick is something I can’t do. The twinge in my left knee tells me I need surgery, but I’ll continue to endure the pain. I hope someone who hates their job reads this. Am I worried? Yes I am.

Dave

September 28th, 2010
10:46 am

Affirmative Action and employers are hiring people from outside the area are two big reasons why unemployment is high in Atlanta. Drive around the Apartment communities and look at the tags. Way too many are from out of state which says they were able to get a job here that a local applicant did not. Stay positive as you look and apply. It will show in your cover letter and nonverbals when you walk in. Take control of the situation.

Bobby

September 28th, 2010
10:50 am

I’m 57 and in a relatively good situation, but do worry if anything happens before 62. Assuming things stay the way they are now if I’m still employed after 62 it’s icing on the cake, but who knows where things will be even a year from now.

Na

September 28th, 2010
10:51 am

I guess those of us over 55 are not part of the Obama hope plan.
This is just another forgotten group, too young to retire, too old to find employment.
It is very tough and there seems to be little hope as businesses are not building for the future so they do not need experienced people. They want cheaper people as they are forced to cut back. This is also part of the Obama plan to kill the middle class and make sure that everyone is equal on the bottom.
The country needs to develop business not destroy it. If we can attract business then there can be jobs and those companies will need 55 plus people to help build their future.

Cammi317

September 28th, 2010
11:06 am

My mom was laid off in December. After 8 months of not being able to find anything here, in August she took a job teaching at a private school in St. Croix. Sucks that she is away from the rest of us, but if you have to move it doesn’t hurt to move to a tropical island!

Kevin

September 28th, 2010
11:27 am

I am 60 and like Bobby have a relatively good situation. I am a Certified Public Accountant and my wife is a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). I live in Atlanta but have been working the past five years work in another state during the week. I would like to move closer to Atlanta and while I have had a couple of interviews I know I am discounted when they see me or when they add up the years of experience on my resume, they choose to go with a younger less experienced person who will cost them less.

I think there needs to be a substantial tax credit provided for a worker older than some age limit, say 55, that will incent employers to hire more experienced and frankly stable employees.

More Unintended Consequences

September 28th, 2010
11:29 am

Once again we are seeing the unintended but predictable consequences of government policy. Leaving out how the Federal Reserve monetary policy caused the bubble and the resulting crash, the method by which health insurance became tied to our employer was one of the worst things our government has ever done. First it reduced job mobility, then it made the cost of an employee’s health care a problem for the employer rather than the individual. Tied to this mess is income tax policy, business tax policy and too many other government mistakes to cover here. The bottom line is that older, more costly employees are now suffering from this government created mess. They have more experience than their younger competition, but Obamacare regulations and other costs for healthcare have now made them too expensive to employ. If we all had our own policies this would never have become a problem.

As always, blame government. And it certainly looks like they are planning even more things to make life even worse so hang on

Kenny

September 28th, 2010
11:33 am

The first comment is reminiscent of Scrooge’s admonition for the poor to go ahead and die to decrease the surplus population. Older people have a right to work as long as they please. We are learning about ourselves in these difficult times. Much of it is not pretty.

Prez Obozo

September 28th, 2010
11:41 am

Sleeze judges have been bought off by corporations to find in their favor concerning age discrimination lawsuits. Hopefully things beyond their control & all the money in the world can’t fix will happen to them later in life and they will experience the fruits of their labor!

WAW

September 28th, 2010
11:42 am

I am retired. I always thought that I would do something part-time (like my dad had done) for pocket money. But forget that, part-time jobs a being filled by 35 year old college graduates. Check the age of the Wal-Mart greeter next time you can afford to go to Wal-Mart.

But for those of us on Social Security, we have nothing to fear. Back in 1983, the Greenspan Commission’s Report was passed overwhelmingly by a bi-partisan Congress and signed with much ado by President Reagan. All we had to do was pay the additional HIGH social security taxes, the money was to be placed in a secure Trust Fund and when we got to 62, we had a guaranteed income for life. The Trust Fund separate from all other government spending (Congress re-affirmed this in 1990) and so no matter what happened it would be secure and the baby boomers would be covered – no problem!

Our SAFE Trust Fund could not be used for declared or undeclared wars, it could be funneled into the military-industrial complex, it could not be used to build bridges to nowhere. Democrats and Republicans (I don’t think there was any independents back then) from the White House and both houses of Congress guaranteed it – period, paragraph, end of report.

You think it hard to get a part-time job at 55 when you’re out of work? You can forget it if you’re 68 or 78 no matter what you are capable of doing.

Back when Y2K was happening, someone asked what would Campbell Soup do if on January 2 they could not use their computers to make, package and ship soup. One of panelist answered, “Well, they will probably call-in their retired folks and ask how they did it before computers.” Why not use our combined capabilities and put together an industry made up of AARP members. We know how to prepare business plans, we know how to organize workers, we know how to bid for contracts and we know how to arrange profit sharing plans that work. Maybe we could make soup since we’re getting real good at eating it. Who knows, maybe we could do a Co-Operative Senior Care Service and really take care of the elderly.

Hell yah I'm worried

September 28th, 2010
11:43 am

58 and disabled, worried about losing job by end of year, company hurting people abandoning ship, layoffs coming. Even though I have a Master’s finding a job will be nearly impossible I fear. I could go out on SS disability I guess, but i want to work and SS disability isn’t much to live on Any ideas?

JOANN

September 28th, 2010
11:44 am

SINCE I WAS FIRED BY A LESBIAN BOSS WHO DID NOT LIKE ME IT HAS BEEN HARD TO FIND A JOB, SO I BEGAN MY OWN BUSINESS. IT IS SMALL BUT AT LEAST I DON’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH “IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHOSE ASS CAN I KISS TO KEEP MY JOB SITUATION ANY MORE.

baby boomers

September 28th, 2010
11:46 am

Does your lesbian boss have an older sister for me?

KL

September 28th, 2010
12:02 pm

I am a 55 y/o attorney who has been unemployed since September 2009. My experience is fairly specialized. Widening my search geographically has helped me no more than has expanding on the talents listed on my resume. Standing around and cheesing w/a bunch other unemployed people (a/k/a attending networking events) has introduced me to new people, but not employment. This month I ran out of money except for one last 401(k). Fortunately in my case, I can hang a shingle and try to find clients. Maybe my gray hair will be viewed postively in that “light.” In the meantime, with no money, no insurance, a handicapped adult child w/out SSI, a large mortgage, credit card debt, and disabled sibling depending on me, I feel pretty hopeless. In many ways this has been worse than the squeeze between aging parents and young children.

Brad

September 28th, 2010
1:42 pm

I can’t believe people are actually blaming Affirmitive Action for the unemployment rate. We are in a recession people! Minorities are suffering along with everyone else. Historically the minority unemployment rate runs above the national average so the recession actually affects minorities even worse. Why does every topic have to end up with one group blaming another? It’s funny how minorities can scream racism when they don’t get a job that they were fully qualified for and the typical reaction is shut up and work harder but when it happens to someone over 55 years old it’s discrimination.
Well it’s not a good feeling when it happens to you just because you have gray hair is it? I contend that the reason why minorities and older people have a higher unemployment rate is exactly the same, discrimination. Never judge unless you have walked in another persons shoes.

Dave

September 28th, 2010
1:56 pm

I’m 55. I’ve been unemployed for almost two years. I was an admin. assist. contractor to a large company for the last 20 years. Now I’m told that I may have to change my expectations in my job search. Ok, I’ll gladly do that if someone could tell me what and who IS hiring. I don’t expect the same pay scale, and I’m not afraid to work with my hands, …but there’s just nothing out there. The good news is that our President and congress have just passed a new $1.5 Billion to create jobs for 16 – 24 year olds. It’s government jobs of course!

Palin fan

September 28th, 2010
2:36 pm

These stories are very saddening. I hope all of these sad unemployed people realize that it is Obama’s hopey-changey socialist policies that made them and are keeping them on the dole.

If you vote for real conservatives who know how to change America and create jobs in November, your pathetic lives will change for the better.

Conservatives will cut taxes, stop unemployment hand-outs to the lazy, and get rid of anti-capitalism Social Security and Medicare. This will free up tons of money for the private market and our basic freedoms that made America great.

john

September 28th, 2010
4:58 pm

Palin fan: Please spare us your condescension with your reference to our “pathetic lives”. Your fake superiority tells me that you have a job with insurance and have NEVER had to endure the indignity of standing in line at the unemployment office at 7am on a rainy Monday morning like I and many others have. ALL the politicians and their political parties have done us in, not just Obama, which is at best a shallow and disingenuous argument. And have you considered that George Bush Jr. guy and his wonderful eight years and the effect that disaster had on our country? By the way, tons of money HAVE been freed up for the private market. The only problem is that most of the money went to the banks and the Wall Street thugs who stuck the money in their pocket and told the rest of us to go to hell. Anyway, really glad life is so good for you and that you don’t have to be concerned about all of us “pathetic” people since you made all the right moves and have all the right answers. It’s good to know that at least somebody is a real winner out there.

TnGelding

September 28th, 2010
7:13 pm

Kenny

September 28th, 2010
11:33 am

If they aren’t in a position to retire, whose fault is it? What have they been working for? Many are, but just don’t realize it. The waste in our households is sickening; gas-guzzling autos, energy-sucking mega-mansions, too lazy and fat to cook, hiring a maid that makes more than they do, unwilling to push or even ride a lawnmower, etc.

TnGelding

September 28th, 2010
7:19 pm

I have been supporting the unemployed for over two years and certainly feel for them. But some of them are simply unemployable due to lack of job skills, poor work ethics, drug addiction (legal and illegal) or abrasive personalities. We seniors have to do what we can to help them until corporate America comes to its senses. Obama needs to shame them into investing the trillions of dollars they are sitting on in us. We’ve proven we can consume everything we produce, and then some, if they keep us working.

WAW

September 28th, 2010
11:52 pm

Palin Fan… just try it sister… you young punks don’t know crap… you want class warfare… I’m talking about the real thing… try it. We old farts will kick yo butts like your mama and daddy should have. In our day there was a saying for folks like you… “Like to buy them what they think they are worth and sell them for what they are really worth” You are a spoiled brat who needs a good spanking. And that goes for your idle too!

Light

September 29th, 2010
12:16 pm

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/