Related BLS programs | Related articles
May 1983, Vol. 106, No. 5
The labor market problems
of older workers
Philip L. Rones
The problem of older worker unemployment has rarely been addressed by researchers and only recently has become evident in the press. This has been the case because older workers tend to have lower unemployment rates than those found in the overall population as a whole and because other subjects related to the older workerparticularly the steady decline in retirement ageare considered "hotter" research topics with more profound policy implications.
This article investigates several aspects of labor market problems among older workers age 55 and over.1 Its purpose is not only to show the degree of actual unemployment experienced by the older worker but also to examine the phenomenon of labor market discouragement in relation to age. Particular attention will be placed on the outcome of an older person's unemployment experience, focusing on the duration of unemployment and the probability of a successful job search.
It is important to note that most older people, particularly the large majority of their population who are outside the labor force, do not want a job. For most, retirement is either the desired reward for many years of work, a necessary result of declining health or both. The concern here is the labor market problems of these older persons who door might want toseek work.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 1983 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (1,045K)
1 Ideally, the analysis presented in this article would have used a consistent definition of "older workers." However, data are not always available with the preferred age aggregationsage 55 to 64 and 65 and over for the older groups and age 25 to 54 for the comparison group of other adult workers. The gross flows data that were used to estimate completed spells of unemployment presented the largest problem. Data for different age/sex groups by duration of unemployment and the probabilities of leaving unemployment used extensively in the article. The only available data are for persons ages 25 to 44, 45 to 59, and 60 and over. The decision was made to exclude the middle group from any analysis since they extend into both the 25 to 54 and 55 and older age groups. Thus, the age 60 and over group was used to represent the older workers, with the 25 to 44 year olds used as the comparison group. The preferred age groups were used for all other analysis.
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers