If you are from the Silent Generation (like you mom), you might not understand how hard it is for your Baby Boomer children to find work these days. If you had been working, you most likely had retired before the Fall of 2008 and the Winter of 2009 (at the height of the Great Recession) during the economic collapse, when the stock market crashed (losing 777 points in one single day), when the housing bubble burst and was near rock bottom, when the mass layoffs were in full swing (over 800,000 a month) for a total of 8.7 million lost jobs.
Since then, older workers who were NOT laid off, tended to stay in the labor force longer to help make up for any equity they lost in their homes or 401k plans. But older workers who lost their jobs had a much more difficult time being re-hired again. And if they were laid off early in the recession, they most likely would have also remained unemployed the longest, and would therefore have the least chance of anybody else to ever be re-hired today --- especially if they only had a high school education (Why won't your mom understand this? It's not like the "old days" when only lazy people couldn't find a job).
Since the recession, the labor force participation rate --- the percent of the population employed or looking for work --- has remained stubbornly low. Many analysts have attributed much of this to America’s aging population. And that may be true. But what the numbers can’t show is that some Boomers are dropping out because they can't get re-hired if they've been left jobless.
Analysts also like to point out that demographics actually began to drag down the labor force participation rate prior to the recession --- so did age discrimination. As layoffs soared in the midst of the recession, so did workplace discrimination suits. But the spike in age discrimination cases was one of the most acute. SOURCE: Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (Why won't your mom look at the facts?)
Researchers at the Urban Institute have confirmed that the lack of entry (or re-entry) into the workforce is having a greater impact on the labor force participation rate than the rate of people leaving it. The rate of 55-66 year-olds entering or reentering the work force between 2010 and 2011 dropped 17 points compared with the rate following the 2001 recession.
Meanwhile, the rate of 55-66 year-olds leaving the workforce post-Lehman was actually found to be slower than post-2001.
This puts huge pressure on personal finances, as Urban explains:
"The reluctance of older workers to reenter the labor market in recent years is troubling, as they may be increasingly likely to remain permanently out of the workforce, potentially compromising their retirement security."
Even Baby Boomers facing negligible financial pressure have been forced into early retirement, drawing down a vastly reduced Social Security pension. But it seems clear that, whether by choice or necessity, employers have left the Baby Boomers behind.
Now if we can just get mom (and the rest of the family) to try and understand this. Your Baby Boomer children aren't lazy (or didn't try hard enough to find a job). No one will hire them! Instead of chastising them, offer them some milk and cookies.