While the recession has forced many Americans to delay retirement, one of the hardest hit are those already retired in search of work. There are 6.6 million Americans age 65 or older who have lost their jobs in the recession, 61% more than the 4.1 million unemployed in this age group in 2000, The New York Times reports.
This is five times the number of people in this age bracket who were unemployed in the Great Depression. Making matters worse, many older Americans still owe money on their mortgages.
In terms of percentages, 6.7% of older Americans are out of work. While that’s below the 9.8% national average, it’s far higher than the 1.9% who were unemployed earlier this decade. And among those who successfully find other gainful employ, it takes an average of 36.5 weeks, or more than nine months. That’s 40% longer than other unemployed folks.
“As AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner puts it, “It’s a big deal for a lot of these people not to find a job. That so many of them are still trying to find work shows how bad the economic situation is. A lot of people normally give up at that age.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, the median income for those 65 and older is $18,208, with nearly 25% of this population receiving $11,139 or less a year. The average Social Security benefit is currently $12,437 a year.