Special Report

The Worst Cities for Retirees to Find Work

3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
> 65 and older unemployment rate: 14.2%

> General unemployment rate: 10.6%
> Population change 2000 – 2010: +13.01% (137th most growth)
> Median income: $63,088 (16th highest)
> Pct. 65 and older: 10.8% (70th highest)

Seattle is one of America’s industrial cities that has managed to establish itself as a high-tech, growth-sector hub. In the past several decades, the metropolitan region has become home to several large, relatively young companies, including Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which is the second-biggest employer in the city. The region has also been a manufacturing center, home to companies like Boeing (NYSE: BA), which is still its biggest employer. Seattle’s unemployment rate in 2010 was 10.6%, which was above-average for metropolitan regions. And perhaps not surprising given the city’s technology focus, its unemployment rate for those 65 and older was much higher that year at 14.2%.

2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
> 65 and older unemployment rate: 14.5%
> General unemployment rate: 11.3%
> Population change 2000 – 2010: +16.16% (94th most growth)
> Median income: $43,547 (142nd lowest)
> Pct. 65 and older: 17.3% (68th highest)

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida region has grown at a faster-than-average rate. And like most of the state of Florida, the region also was hit hard by the housing crisis. The unemployment rate among the general population in 2010 was 11.3%, one of the highest rates in the country. Among residents over 65, that rate was 14.5%, the second-highest in the country for the older Americans. Only 14.5% of the 481,000 Tampa Bay residents 65 are in the labor force, meaning they have jobs or are looking for jobs. This labor force participation rate is well below the average among metro areas. Tampa’s economy relies on high-skill industries, including finance, insurance and telecommunications.

1. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C.
> 65 and older unemployment rate: 15.5%
> General unemployment rate: 10.8%
> Population change 2000 – 2010: +32.14% (15th highest)
> Median income: $50,449 (102nd highest)
> Pct. 65 and older: 10.1% (43rd lowest)

The Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill region was one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country last decade. The population is young, with just over 10% of residents over the age of 65. In 2010, the unemployment rate in the Charlotte region was 10.8% for the general population — already above the national unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for residents 65 and older was even higher, at 15.5% — the worst in the country for the age group. Charlotte is a major industrial hub but also one of the biggest banking and finance centers in the country. With the biggest employers including Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), roughly one in 10 jobs in the region is in the financial services field.

Michael B. Sauter, Ashley C. Allen

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