According to AARP, the jobless rate for older Americans dipped slightly in March, and the overall unemployment rate reached its lowest level in four years, largely because the size of the workforce declined to its lowest level in 40 years. That decline may have been due to discouraged workers who stopped looking for a job and therefore were not counted in the unemployment rolls, but it’s still disappointing.
Among workers age 55 or older, AARP states that 51 percent were out of work for six months or more. Last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.8 million adults, age 55-plus, actively sought employment, and nearly half of older workers looking for jobs have been without employment for over a year. Notwithstanding the duration issue, which is bad enough, another significant issue for older workers may be underemployment. Many workers, who formerly had full-time jobs, have taken part-time jobs, or contract jobs, many of which don’t offer health insurance and provide significantly lower salaries than they previously earned.
According to a recent news release from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), that organization, in partnership with the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, recently launched JobSource, a new online portal to help older adults assess their work skills, identify job training opportunities, and find employment.
JobSource (www.benefitscheckup.org/jobsource) includes a quick job match system that enables users to assess their work interests and transferable skills. Users can also register on the site to earn job skills certifications and enroll in over 30 free online courses. JobSource is one of a suite of online tools from NCOA that help older adults to improve their economic security.
NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp (www.BenefitsCheckUp.org) is free online screening service that contains information on thousands of programs available to assist older adults in paying for health care, prescriptions, food, and other necessities.