Longer Unemployment and Age Discrimination Have Harmful Impact on Older Workers
Washington, DC –Today AARP applauded passage of a bipartisan agreement authored by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) to reauthorize emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for long-term unemployed workers and urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the bill swiftly. Over the last 5 years, workers age 55 and older have experienced record levels of unemployment. On average, once older workers lose their jobs, they experience several months more of unemployment than younger workers.
“Since the great recession began, on average, older workers have a much harder time finding a new job, often due to face age discrimination in hiring,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “This bipartisan bill would help jobseekers struggling to make ends meet while they search for another job and we hope the House will work to pass it quickly. AARP also backs another bipartisan bill the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, which would combat age discrimination and defend the rights of older individuals in the workplace.”
Age discrimination in hiring is a significant part of the reason why older jobseekers have a difficult time finding a new job. About one-third (34%) of older unemployed workers report that either they personally faced age discrimination in the last four years, or know someone who has. Recent research also shows that some employers discriminate against the unemployed, favoring those with less relevant experience but shorter spells of unemployment over those with better résumés who have been out of work for more than six months. Since older workers are overrepresented among the long-term unemployed, they are more adversely affected by this type of discrimination.
The Senate’s bipartisan vote comes over three months after UI benefits were cutoff on December 28, 2013, when Congress failed to reauthorize the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 2.79 million Americans would be eligible for UI benefits under the plan advanced today by the Senate, which includes the 2.24 million who would see retroactive benefits going back to December 28.