Sunday, May 27, 2012

Unemployment is rough at any age

This week BusinessWeek leads with an article discussing who is having it the worse - the young or the old. I quote from the start of the article

It’s the fight of a generation. In this corner, weighing in at 42.5 million people, with a 12.3 percent unemployment rate and $294 billion of combined student loan debt, wearing skinny jeans and headphones: 20 to 29-year-olds. And in this corner, tipping the scale at 36.9 million people, with an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent and a median household networth of $162,000, wearing Crocs and a pair of bifocals: 55 to 64-year-olds.

The article has a lot of good references for data about generational employment/unemployment in the US like this one from the Manhattan Institute.

I think the most sensible comment in the article was this - Both situations are terrible, but their problems are different.

As I see it, the longer a young person is unemployed or employed in a job that is way below their potential the harder it gets to break into the world of work. For an older person (50+) the chances of getting employed after dropping out of the workforce are small and they then don't have time to repair their finances before being permantely 'retired'. Both truly are horrible. Dick Stroud

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