Baby Boomers and the Long Term Unemployed

Baby Boomers and the Long Term Unemployed

Long Term UnemployedI have been asked to give a talk in the next month on Baby Boomers and their impact on the Long Term Unemployed. I would like to discuss this topic over the next few posts and get your opinion.

As many of you probably know the Great Recession has been different from past recessions. As unemployment rates slowly come down, the long term unemployed (Unemployed for more than 6 months) make up a much larger proportion of the unemployed than in any other recession. (40-50%)

There is a very good video on Huffington Post called Long Term Jobless Fix that discusses many of the issues around the fate of the long term unemployed.

Baby Boomers have a lower unemployment rate than any other generation, but should they become unemployed they will likely become a member of the ranks of the long term unemployed.

Who are Baby Boomers?

I think you have to look at characteristics of Baby Boomers.

  • Our parents
    • Children of the depression
    • Fathers served in WW II
    • Saved, saved and saved
    • Very risk averse
    • First generation to be able to experience the golden years/retirement
  • Baby Boomers
    • Ages 47 to 67 years old
    • Raised to be employees
    • Most went to work for father-like corporations
    • Planned to work for one employer for their entire career
    • Did not save at a rate necessary for retirement
      • On average baby boomers have less that $100K saved for retirement
      • 42% have less than $25K
      • 25% have nothing

Most baby boomers were planning to retire or be retired by this time in their career. By the way, everyone else planned for baby boomers to retire!

What has changed?

The Great Recession cleaned out many 401(k) accounts. Yes, the markets have come back. However, huge numbers of baby boomers exited the markets when things got bad and there is still over a trillion dollars still sitting on the sidelines.

There has been a hollowing out of the workforce. Middle skills jobs have been eliminated during the great recession and have moved over seas. High skill and low skill service positions have been growing but middle skill jobs have declined significantly.

Corporations have figured out they can do more with less.

The methods that employers use to find candidates have changed significantly. We are now in a referral economy. Think LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and Google+.

If you talk to just about any baby boomer and they will tell you that when they made changes in their career it was because an opportunity appeared. We were reactionary.

Do you agree?

In my next post, I will explain why I think so many baby boomers are long term unemployed.

Why do you think so many baby boomers are long term unemployed?


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  1. You hit the bulls eye!!! First, I never wanted to leave a successful job…but if business slows, you close! My last “5” positions were all in the Hidden Job Market AND as a result, someone in my network made the referral because they knew what a good employee I am. Still am by the way. Still seeking full time position and still reaching out to others!

    • Marc Miller says:

      Good for you! Unfortunately, the concept of full time employment is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. I will write more about this in my next post.

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