The Associated Press reported recently that the long-term unemployed are facing increased hiring bias, with employers refusing to take on workers who have been out of work for a long stretch of time.
Shaila Dewan at the New York Times in her article, Older Women Struggle to Make Ends Meet: "The United States is aging, and a new report from Wider Opportunities for Women. sheds some light on what that may mean and underscores the importance of saving for retirement."
Sixty percent of women in the United States who are 65 or older do not have enough income to cover basic expenses without help, even if they are married, according to the report. That is compared to 41 percent of men in that age group.
The report compares income, not including food stamps or help with utility
bills, to very basic monthly expenses for housing, food, transportation and
health care. For a single person, this Elder Economic Security Standard
State) developed by Wider Opportunities for Women, estimates an annual income of
$19,000 to $28,000, depending on whether they own their homes outright, rent
or pay a mortgage. For married couples, the necessary income to cover basic
expenses ranges from $29,500 to $39,000.
More than half the nation’s elderly do not make enough. But women, who typically outlive men, are more vulnerable. Nearly half of white women, 61 percent of Asian women and three-quarters of black and Hispanic women have incomes that fall below the Elder Index levels. Men 65 or older report incomes that are almost 75 percent higher than women’s.
“Occupational segregation, pay inequity and care-giving responsibilities all contribute to women’s reduced earnings during their working-age years and diminished capacity for saving,” the report says.
Women are also far less likely to have a pension. According to a new study Income of the Aged Chartbook, recently released by the Social Security Administration, about two-thirds of elderly households count on Social Security as more than half of their income. Almost 40 percent rely on a pension, a type of benefit that is less and less common.
“A staggering majority of older women in America can’t afford to cover their most basic expenses,” said Donna Addkison, the president of Wider Opportunities for Women. “This is the startling reality facing countless older women around the country and a harsh eye-opener for working women and families who are saving for retirement today.”
From Arthur Delaney, re-posted
at the Spokesmen-Review: "Baby boomers like Hall are more likely than previous generations to keep working, or at least looking for work, as they get older. Since hitting a low of 29 percent in the 1990s, the labor force participation rate for older workers (those who are 55 and up) has risen to 40 percent today. The increase is partly due to employers offering stingier retirement plans than they once did.
The unemployment rate for older workers is lower than for their younger counterparts, but older workers’ unemployment spells last longer. The average jobless person age 55 and over during 2011 spent a full year unemployed, compared with 39 weeks for the broader workforce. Older workers are more than twice as likely as their younger counterparts to be unemployed for 99 weeks or longer, according to the Congressional Research Service. In February, nearly 2 million of America’s 12.8 million jobless had been out of work that long.
How does a person wind up in such a bad spot? It’s not clear from the data. Education, surprisingly, doesn’t provide guaranteed protection. The CRS found that unemployed workers with advanced degrees were no less likely than high school dropouts to become 99ers. Hall said she has a master’s degree in education.
From the perspective of workers themselves, age discrimination is the obvious explanation.
A compelling story by Arthur Delaney at the Huffington Post:
After 18 years of employment, an older woman who worked at a country club as a server had to reapply for her own job and sign a document that cut her pay from $10.04 per hour to minimum wage...and she also had to forfeit 40% of her tips to management.
Then her position was eliminated. When she applied for unemployment insurance, her ex-employer appealed the claim, and in September the state ruled her ineligible for benefits. So she lawyered up.
"You give years of excellent service and then they spit you out like a peach pit!"
Then her ex-boss wrote a series of columns in the local paper bashing bogus unemployment claims, complaining about dishonest unemployed people...and suggested eliminating the local unemployment office, since all it ever did was award bogus claims to the lazy jobless.
An administrative law judge eventually ruled in her favor, allowing her to receive $428 per week in unemployment insurance.
Now at 62, she has no health insurance, not enough savings for retirement, and has almost no chance of getting hired again.
Not long after that, her daughter had also gotten laid off from her job after working five years in Research and Development at a local genetics lab that got bought out by a multi-national corporation.
Older workers' unemployment spells last longer. The average jobless person aged 55 and over during 2011 spent a full year unemployed, compared with 39 weeks for the broader workforce. Older workers are more than twice as likely as their younger counterparts to be unemployed for 99 weeks or longer, according to the Congressional Research Service. In February, nearly 2 million of America's 12.8 million jobless had been out of work that long.
Read my post: Revel Casino Imposes 'Term Limits' on Employees - It's blatant and obvious age discrimination!