Workers over 50 are the new unemployables

By Annalyn Kurtz

On one hand, they’re too young to retire. They may also be too old to get re-hired.

Call them the “new unemployables,” say researchers at Boston College.

Older workers were less likely to lose their jobs during the recession, but those who were laid off are facing far tougher conditions than their younger colleagues. Workers in their fifties are about 20% less likely than workers ages 25 to 34 to become re-employed, according to an Urban Institute study published last year.

“Once you leave the job market, trying to get back in it is a monster,” said Mary Matthews, 57, who has teetered between bouts of unemployment and short temp jobs for the last five years. She applies for jobs every week, but most of the time, her applications hit a brick wall.

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