Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you don’t have to work. As of the end of last year, 7.3% of Americans 75 and older were employed — the highest level since 1966, according to The Wall Street Journal. But as the number of job seekers among retirement-age people has increased, so has the unemployment rate among that age group. It is now twice what it was five years ago.
The issue of unemployment among older Americans is even more important now because retirement plans lost so much money since the recession began. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the cities with the highest unemployment rates for Americans 65 and older.
The cities with the highest unemployment rates among those 65 and older do not necessarily have the highest unemployment rates among the general population. In fact, many of the metropolitan regions on the list have unemployment rates below the national average. In five of the six cities on our list, unemployment rates are substantially worse for those 65 and older than for the population as a whole.
The reason for this disparity among the age groups can be attributed to the fact that these cities, for the most part, rely heavily on industries like finance, banking, telecommunications and technology — areas that have a high percentage of professional or specialized jobs. More than many other fields, these kinds of jobs require a high degree of training. For those seeking to reenter the workforce, or change their line of work, this can present a challenge.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed labor force statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics survey. This study provides age-based information for 46 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country for the years 2005 to 2010. In seven of these metropolitan regions, unemployment rates in 2010 — the most recent available data — were higher for older Americans than for the entire population. We examined unemployment rates, labor participation and total unemployment for these regions, also from the Current Employment Statistics, to get a better look at the employment picture as a whole. We examined median income and population change over a 10-year period in these metro areas from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
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