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Age discrimination is holding back many older U.S. workers

According to a recent study, older people in New York and across the United States are struggling to find work during the economic recovery. Experts say one of the primary reasons for this is age discrimination.

On the surface, the August jobs report showed solid job growth. The national unemployment rate remained steady at 4.9 percent, and the jobless rate for individuals over age 55 was just 3.5 percent. However, those numbers don't tell the whole story. When part-time workers who want to work full-time and unemployed people who have recently given up searching for jobs are included, the unemployment rate jumps to 8.9 percent, according to a report by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. Worse, if one adds in older people who gave up looking for jobs after more than a month, the unemployment rate is 12 percent.

Age discrimination is illegal in the U.S., but a 2013 survey by the AARP reported that nearly 70 percent of older workers say that age discrimination is a real problem in the workplace. Statistics seem to back up that belief. For example, SCEPA data shows that older individuals need 36 weeks to find a job, compared to 26 weeks for younger people. A study conducted by the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found older individuals applying for administrative jobs received significantly fewer callbacks. Experts say the problem is worse for older women than it is for men; although, both struggle to find work.

New York workers who believe they are the victims of age discrimination may find relief by contacting an attorney. Legal counsel could explain an individual's employee rights and file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Source: TIME, "Age Discrimination and Lost Income Are Hurting Older Workers," Mark Miller, Sept. 8, 2016

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