Younger workers have a famously high unemployment rate. Last month, workers aged 20 to 24 had a 12.5 percent unemployment rate, while those aged 25 to 34 had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent — the national average for October. Workers aged 55 and over, though, had an unemployment rate of only 5.4 percent. What gives?
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Well, for one thing, older workers are less likely to leave their jobs voluntarily, for a host of reasons. They’re more experienced and settled in their career track, and justifiably more afraid of prolonged unemployment should they find themselves unemployed.
Older workers stay unemployed longer than younger works — just about two months longer, on average. As a result, they’re more likely to stick it out at their jobs, even if they don’t love what they’re doing.
In addition, thanks to the economy, many older workers are delaying retirement.
“[T]he financial crisis took its toll on older workers’ retirement portfolios, in addition to taking a bite out of home values,” writes Amanda Alix at The Motley Fool. “A recent survey of employed persons aged 50 and over showed that the average retirement age of 57 prior to the downturn has been pushed up by five years to age 62 following the recession. Over 80% of respondents thought they would have to continue to work, in some capacity, after their retirement.”
What does this mean for Gen X and Millennial workers? Well, fewer openings for high-paying, high-status jobs, and potentially, a longer wait for their dream gig at the top of the corporate ladder.
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