Economic snapshot | Economic Growth

Older men face longer job searches

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This Father’s day, millions of fathers and grandfathers are struggling to find jobs, and data show that the older the man, the longer he is likely to remain unemployed. Long-term unemployment lasting more than six months has reached record levels during the current jobs crisis. Among male workers age 20 to 24, close to one-third are long-term unemployed. That share increases progressively with age. Among unemployed men age 55 to 64, close to half – 49.7% — have been out of work for more than six months. The Figure shows the portion of long-term unemployed men by age. (Because monthly data are not seasonally-adjusted, percentages were calculated based on a 12-month average of monthly rates of long-term unemployment from June 2009 through May 2010.)

Across all age groups, 39.9% of unemployed men are long-term unemployed. Many of them have exhausted or are at risk of soon exhausting their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Unemployed workers are typically eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, but during the Great Recession, Congress extended that for up to 99 weeks in order to stimulate the economy and strengthen the safety net for millions of long-term unemployed. That extension expired last month, and although the House of Representatives voted in May to maintain extended UI benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks, the Senate has not yet voted on the extension. As a result, by the end of June, well over one million jobless workers will have lost their unemployment insurance coverage.  


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