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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

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  • Oct 8, 2012
    7:19 PM ET

    The Downside of an Older Workforce

    Market watchers welcomed last week’s surprisingly upbeat jobs report, but one overlooked trend may not bode so well for the economy, say some analysts: the graying of the workforce.

    Workers age 55 and over accounted for 21.4% of the employed population in the third quarter, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s the highest level on record, up from 18.4% in 2008 and 14.6% in 2002. These older worker also appear to be winning out over their younger peers in the current economic recovery: Since January 2010, these boomers have landed 70% of the new jobs created, an analysis by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas found.

  • Oct 5, 2012
    5:31 PM ET

    Can Classes Give Older Workers an Edge?

    Older workers come to the table with experience, maturity and dedication, and unemployment rates for those 55 and over have been lower than the overall average for most of the recession. But older workers who do wind up unemployed often struggle to recover: The average duration of unemployment for older job seekers is now 56 weeks, compared with 37 weeks for younger workers, according to an analysis of the most recent job data by Sara Rix of the AARP Public Policy Institute.

    Partially in response to this trend, many colleges and universities have begun offering classes for older workers to help them improve their resumes, learn marketable skills and land jobs. The recently launched American Association of Community Colleges’ Plus 50 Initiative offers people over 50 an array of classes at community colleges across the nation, including workforce retraining courses.  The number of workforce retraining courses offered through this program more than doubled from the 2010-11 school year, with 395 total courses now offered; the number of older students enrolled jumped 75%, to 5,829, over that same period. Four-year colleges and universities are also offering courses that may be relevant for older workers.

     

  • Aug 4, 2011
    2:15 PM ET

    Time For a WPA-Style Jobs Program?

    The focus on raising the debt limit has distracted us from the real problem — namely, the desperate plight of the unemployed.  Conventional approaches to reducing unemployment through stimulating consumption do not appear to be working.  Six million people have now been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.  For many, unemployment insurance benefits have run out.  Employers don’t want to hire the long-term unemployed.  As a result, millions have no way out of an economic and psychological morass.  We need a modernized version of the Depression Era’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) to provide jobs directly to unemployed Americans.

  • Jun 29, 2011
    10:28 AM ET

    Older Americans Fuel Entrepreneurial Boom

    iStockPhoto

    Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs.

    According to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals between the ages of 54 and 64 represented 22.9% of the entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2010 – up from 14.5% in 1996. Since 2007, the foundation says, this age group has created new businesses at a higher rate than any other. The data, writes Kauffman’s research director Dane Stangler, indicates “the United States might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom—not in spite of an aging population but because of it.”

    Still, failure rates for new businesses are high—as high as 90% by some measures.

  • Jun 27, 2011
    10:52 AM ET

    If You’re Over 50 and Unemployed, Don’t Miss This Site

    iStockPhoto

    If you find yourself among the ranks of older job hunters, one of the most valuable resources to emerge from the Great Recession is also among the most poignant: a website called Over 50 and Out of Work.

    Started by Susan M. Sipprelle, a writer, journalist and photographer, the website documents the stories of the nation’s unemployed through 100 video interviews. Each is a compelling and wrenching portrait of older Americans grappling with the loss of jobs, identities and hope.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.