retirement policy dot org

How Did 50+ Workers Fare in 2010?

Publication Date: February 01, 2011
Share:
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Yahoo Buzz Share on Digg Share on Reddit

Abstract

Unemployment rates remained high for the 47.5 million workers age 50 and older in 2010. More than half of unemployed workers this age were out of work for more than six months, and nearly a third were out of work for more than a year. Workers age 50 to 61—too young to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits—have fared worse than those age 62 and older since the Great Recession began in December 2007. This data brief shows recent trends in unemployment, employment, labor force participation, earnings, and unemployment duration.

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the entire paper in PDF format.


Introduction

The labor force included 47.5 million adults age 50 and older in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all workers, up from 20 percent in 1996. Unemployment rates remained high for men and women 50 and older, and more than half of unemployed workers this age were out of work for more than six months. Workers age 50 to 61— too young to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits—have fared worse than those age 62 and older since the recession began in late 2007. Men have also been hit harder than women. How Many Were Unemployed? In 2010, 2.0 million men age 50 and older were unemployed. Unemployment crept up for all men in 2010 but generally increased more for older workers than younger workers.

  • The unemployment rate for men age 50 to 61 increased to 8.3 percent from 7.8 percent in 2009 and 3.2 percent in 2007.
  • The rate for men age 62 and older increased to 7.3 percent from 6.6 percent in 2009 and 3.3 percent in 2007.
  • Unemployment did not increase for men age 25 to 49.

Older men with limited education—especially those younger than 62—were much more likely to be unemployed than college graduates. For example, the rate at age 50 to 61 for college graduates was 5.2 percent, compared with 10.1 percent for high school graduates and 14.2 percent for those who did not complete high school.

The unemployment rate for women rose to 8.6 percent in 2010, from 8.1 percent in 2009. About 1.4 million women age 50 and older were unemployed in 2010. Nonetheless, unemployment was less common among women 50 and older than younger women.

The unemployment rate for women age 50 to 61 was 6.5 percent, up from 6.0 percent in 2009 and 3.0 percent in 2007.

At age 62 and older, women's unemployment rate was 6.0 percent, unchanged since 2009 and exactly twice the 2007 rate.

End of excerpt. Read the entire paper in PDF format.


Usage and reprints: Most publications may be downloaded free of charge from the web site and may be used and copies made for research, academic, policy or other non-commercial purposes. Proper attribution is required. Posting UI research papers on other websites is permitted subject to prior approval from the Urban Institute—contact publicaffairs@urban.org.

If you are unable to access or print the PDF document please contact us or call the Publications Office at (202) 261-5687.

Disclaimer: The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Copyright of the written materials contained within the Urban Institute website is owned or controlled by the Urban Institute.