Monday, May 3, 2010

Un and Under-Employment Ages 50 - 64

In my first two posts (here and here), I talked about my work skills, both "official" (skills that I show on the resume) and "unofficial" (skills that I have but do not list on the resume).

Today, I'm going to take a slight detour and discuss some of the statistics I found on a quick search of der Google on un and under-employment in the 50 to 64 year old age group. An age group in which I currently sit right in the middle. I will try to accurately identify both the source of my data as well as the date so you can evaluate things for yourselves.

Note: In order to save myself a little typing, understand that all figures I use will be rough approximations and are not intended to be accurate down to eight places or anything like that.

This little population estimate comes to us from the US Census of 2000. Obviously, since it is ten years old, it will soon be updated but does give us a starting point:

40 to 44 years...... 22,769
45 to 49 years...... 20,059
50 to 54 years...... 17,626

I started with the 40 - 44 Age Group from 2000 as today, they are the 50 - 54 age group. I'm sure there have been losses and gains in these groups over ten years but it does give a quick idea of just how many folks are in the group.

Over Sixty Million. Using a rough estimate of the total US population of 330 Million, we're talking about a group that is 18 percent of the overall total.

Now we have this report of Under-employment in 2009 from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern Univ. in Boston (PDF) with some interesting factoids.
By the fourth quarter of 2009, underemployment had risen to 6.4% of the employed, tying the first quarter of 2009 for the highest incidence in our country’s post-World War II history.5 While male unemployment rates have risen at a much faster rate than those of women in the Great Recession of 2007-2009, especially among those without college degrees, underemployment problems have plagued both gender groups to a similar degree (Table 1). The underemployment rates of both groups more than doubled over the course of the recession, and in the fourth quarter of 2009, the underemployment rates of both groups were nearly identical (6.5% for men and 6.4% for women). Underemployment problems of U.S. workers vary far more considerably across age, race-ethnic, nativity, educational attainment, and occupational groups of workers.

From Table 2 of this report:
55 – 64 5.2%

I found this blogpost from Dian L. Chu on a Gallup Report review of Underemployment for March 2010:
Gallup concludes its findings as follows:
As unemployed Americans find part-time, temporary, and seasonal work, the official unemployment rate could decline. However, this does not necessarily mean more Americans are working at their desired capacity. It will continue to be important to track underemployment -- to shed light on the true state of the U.S. workforce."

The web site Policy has a lot of good links and information on the affects of our current economy on older workers.

Now, I'm not a mathematician or statistician but just looking at the numbers and doing some rough calculations, if there are roughly Sixty million people in the cohort of age 50 - 64 with an under-employment rate of 5.2%, then just for the under-employed, we're talking three million or so people. Since I've not been able to find any break out of current unemployment by the age range I've chosen (I'm sure it's out there, just not finding it easily), I'll go with the currently accepted rate overall (seasonally adjusted) of 9.7%. This applied to the sixty million in the age cohort has roughly 5.8 million unemployed. Added to the under-employed figure and we're talking almost nine million people of a group of sixty million. And I'm not even touching on the folks who are considered "self-employed" (although this group I'd imagine includes a large per cent of folks who would say they are "self-employed" due to earlier job cuts at their former employers' offices).

Just to note, I do recognize that by using the entire age cohort for the statistics, I may be inflating things somewhat as not all of the sixty million under discussion can be considered active members of the work force. All errors of logic or mathematics are purely mine.


  1. Interesting - 5.8 million un / underemployed workers competing against the rest of the unemployed, new college graduates, and returning war vets.

    Those are over whelming numbers. I am in your age group also. I have friends in the next lower age group who have been looking for work for over a year also.

    I keep thinking there has to be a way to bring back jobs, manufacturing, to this country. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge here.

    Ideas anyone?

  2. Howdy DK! CT just mentioned you got yer own place, I thought I'd drop in and say 'Congrats'!! May you rawhk on font after font!