As portfolio values have dropped, more advisors are suggesting that some of their retired clients consider returning to work. It’s sound advice, particularly when the client needs the income and has a unique set of skills that employers want. Still, the national unemployment rate continues to move higher, so retirees will face increased competition in their job searches.
A recent AARP report, “Little to Cheer About: Unemployment and the Older Worker,” cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that paints a mixed employment picture for workers 55 and up. The good news is that the increase of the unemployment rate among those workers was less pronounced than the overall nationwide increase, from 4.8 percent in November to 4.9 percent in December.
That good news, though, is tempered by several other findings:
- December’s 4.9 percent rate is the highest monthly rate since October 1992.
- Over 1.4 million workers in the 55 and older cohort were unemployed and seeking work in December, an increase of 566,000 from December 2007.
- Long-term unemployment is more of a problem for older job-seekers; in December, 32 percent of job-seekers aged 55 and over had been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer (versus 23 percent of job-seekers aged 25 to 54).