The local CBS affiliate in Washington, DC reports that
Despite the unemployment rate plummeting, more than 92 million Americans remain out of the labor force.
The unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March, the lowest it has been since September 2008 when it was 6.1 percent. The sharp drop, though, occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count people not looking for a jobas unemployed.
The bureau noted that the civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 last month, following an increase of 503,000 in March.
The amount (not seasonally adjusted) of Americans not in the labor force in April rose to 92,594,000, almost 1 million more than the previous month. In March, 91,630,000 Americans were not in the labor force, which includes an aging population that is continuing to head into retirement.
“The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April. The participation rate has shown no clear trend in recent months and currently is the same as it was this past October. The employment-population ratio showed no change over the month (58.9 percent) and has changed little over the year,” the bureau said in a statement.
A little over one month ago, on April 1st, I joined the ranks of the unemployed, due to a Budget Cut.
In years past, this would have been tough. Now, it is tougher. You see, I’m 55 years old.
Being a writer, and someone to whom performing research comes as naturally as breathing in and out, I immediately performed a Google Search, on “Being Unemployed Over 50”. I found an article on the subject , posted in 2012 on forbes.com, which included this hardly-inspiring little ray of sunshine:
For older workers who lose their jobs, the statistics are not very encouraging. Though the unemployment rate for people over 55 is just 5.9%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several points lower than the overall rate of 8.1%, when older workers lose their jobs they are out of work for a long time, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute. In May, 54.9% of job seekers over 55 had been looking for 27 weeks or more. According to the Institute, on average, unemployed people over 55 have been out of work for more than a year—56 weeks. Also, as my colleague Ashlea Ebeling wrote in May, the Urban Institute released a report showing that median monthly earnings fell 23% after an unemployment spell for reemployed workers aged 50 to 61, compared with just 11% for workers aged 25 to 34.
Yeehaw. Okay, so what should I do? I mean, I can only watch “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “In The Heat of The Night” reruns so many times. Besides, I keep remembering the mug shots of the late Howard Rollins, from the time he was arrested for Substance Abuse while wearing women’s clothing. It was not a pretty sight.
But, I digress…
The Forbes Article goes on to feature stories from Renée Rosenberg, a career counselor who specializes in over-50 job seekers. She is the author of Achieving the Good Life After 50, and a coach with the national career coaching organization.
According to Ms. Rosenberg, and the writer of the article, Susan Adams,
Often older workers need to adjust their expectations and consider jobs outside their area of expertise. Sometimes this means swallowing a pay cut, but it can also mean taking a job that is more low key and located closer to home. One of Rosenberg’s clients, at 68, lost his finance job in a downsizing. He realized he wanted to walk to work in his New York suburb. While poking around his neighborhood he saw a help wanted sign in a storefront. He inquired, and landed a job as a dispatcher for a limousine and car service. The job isn’t glamorous but it meets his financial needs and keeps him close to home.
In other words, grab whatever you can. If I was in my late 60s, I would probably follow those ladies’ advice.
However, I am not. I am only 55. I believe that I still have a lot to offer an employer.
The only problem is, will the employers see it that way?
The impatience of a technology-driven society is very evident…even in a job search.
Employers nowadays want to know what you can do for them today, not a couple of years down the road. And, with the economy headed down the ol’ porcelain receptacle, they want you to be able to do it with a limited or non-existent budget. Additionally , if you are being interviewed by a smaller company, Health Insurance for you and your family may not be included, due to the launch of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
This ain’t our parents (or grandparents for you young whipper-snappers out there) Job Market.
My folks were members of America’s Greatest Generation. I was born when they were 40. That being said, I can remember my Mother and Father, going to work everyday, to their jobs with Sears and Roebuck.
That’s right. They both worked for the same company…for 20 years!
You see, boys and girls, back then, unlike our impatient present society, employers hired you for the long haul. These employers were adept, through face-to-face interviews, at recognizing future employes’ potential, and were willing to invest the time necessary to cultivate that employee in order to realize a Return on that Investment (ROI).
Beginning in the 1980′s, the employer/employee dynamic began to change, as older employees, seemingly overnight, became viewed as liabilities, not assets.
Nowadays, in our impatient society, powered by an universal quest for immediate results and gratification, employers and job-seekers alike have forgotten the old adage,
Good things come to those who wait.
Employers need to realize that there are skills you can teach employees and that the job seeker who is presently interviewing with you, can be cultivated into becoming a worthwhile ROI.
And, on the job seeker’s part, young seekers, just out of college, need to realize that, while universities can teach you knowledge, they can’t teach you experience. You may have to take a lower job than you had set your hopes on, in order to achieve greater success in the future.
In today’s “microwave-version” of the job seeking/hiring process, perhaps both employers and potential employees need to slow down, move in a more deliberate fashion, and think a little more about what they want, in both an employer and in a job situation.
The reality is, with the Obama Administration more interested is the expansion of government than they are in the expansion and health of America’s economy and labor force, more Americans are choosing to drop out of the Labor Force, because they are tired of the struggle.
All these numbers from the Obama Administration are, is an attempt to put a coat of white paint on a shotgun shack and call it “repaired”.
So, fellow job seekers…
Prepare for the long haul.
Be Flexible. Be Adaptable.
Never Give Up. Never Surrender.
Until He Comes,