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Congressional briefing sheds light on poor seniors' employment struggles
Date:9/16/2011

An expert panel speaking on Capitol Hill today demonstrated that the Great Recession has had a disproportionately negative impact on low-income older workers, although programs such as the federal Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) have managed to provide some valuable benefits to this disadvantaged demographic group.

The congressional briefing held on the eve of National Employ Older Workers Week was titled, "Older Workers: Multiple Returns on Our Public Investment." It was sponsored by The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the American Society on Aging, and supported by Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI). This event precedes the release of GSA's forthcoming research brief, "America's Job Crisis: Low-Income Seniors Hit Hardest."

"Our nation can ill afford to overlook the record levels of joblessness among older Americans," said Tony Sarmiento, the executive director of SSAI and chair-elect of GSA's Public Policy Committee. "Providing jobs and training, especially to those with less income and education, helps older adults stay healthy and independent as well as helps meet our nation's workforce demands."

The unemployment rate for low-income older workers tripled during the last decade, rising from 6.7 percent in 2000 to 20.9 percent in 2010, according to Andrew Sum, the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, who spoke at the briefing. His work features prominently in the new research brief. Sum's figures refer to the number of people aged 55 to 74 with a total household income under $20,000, and do not include those working part time but desiring full-time jobs, those working at jobs below their education or career level, or those who have given up looking for work. Unemployed workers age 55 and over currently face an average of 53 weeks without a job, compared to 41 weeks for those under age 55.

Furthermore, SCSEP, the only federal jobs program targeted at
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Contact: Todd Kluss
tkluss@geron.org
202-587-2839
The Gerontological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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