Seniors Scrambling for Work

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2009 1:37 PM CST
Seniors Scrambling for Work
Unemployed people wait in line at the California Employment Development Department in San Jose.   (AP Photo)

The recession is hitting elderly workers much harder than in the past, thanks to an increase in the number of older workers—especially those over 75—and a severe shortage of jobs, the Wall Street Journal reports. In past recessions, these workers just retired; now, they're scrambling to find a way to pay their medical bills and mortgages. "Who is going to hire an 81-year-old man?" asked one unemployed bartender.

The unemployment rate for workers 65 and older stands at 5.7%, below the national average but much higher than the 1981 recession's rate of 4.3%. There is a lone federal program designed to help, but it promises only 20 hours of work a week at minimum wage and is funded to address just 1% of eligible workers.
(More unemployment stories.)

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