There is nothing more debilitating than not having a job at an age far from retirement. This is exactly what some men and women in their 50s and 60s are experiencing after losing their jobs since the nation’s economic crisis that shook many business establishments to reduce their manpower. And the ongoing fear for many is that they might be discarded from the workforce forever, especially at the event of having to compete with the younger generation whose unemployment rate is likewise higher.
The Labor Department statistics have shown that of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older, and nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer—a big blow that could affect their retirement package in the future.
Patricia Reid, 57, is one who is currently experiencing this devastating crisis after losing her job as internal auditor and analyst at Boeing four years ago. While she never stopped sending applications to various companies in the hope that one day someone will get back to her for a new income opportunity, she admitted that fear and frustrations are just heavily confined in the corners of her mind. “There are these fears in the background, and they are suppressed,” said Ms. Reid, who is now selling some of her jewelry and clothes online and is late on some credit card payments.
The recession and its aftermath have already pushed down some older workers. In figures released last week by the Census Bureau, the poverty rate among those 55 to 64 increased to 9.4 percent in 2009, from 8.6 percent in 2007. In August, the average time unemployed for those 55 and older was slightly more than 39 weeks, according to the Labor Department, the longest of any age group which is much worse than in August 1983.
With the promise of a green economy and the continued call for the creation of millions of green jobs, we are hoping that older workers will somehow be given a renewed hope and opportunity to overturn the burden that has befallen them for years. Green job trainings and opportunities should be extended to them as well for they have not only showed experience in their own previous fields but also dedication and hard work to earn a decent income. There are many opportunities for people in this age group especially as the new push for green and sustainable homes is front and center on the worldwide Eco boom is emerging. “Eco Consultants are needed worldwide and the demographic of retired people is what we are looking for” quotes Kevin Hopkins of the Eco Institution. Eco Consultants help homeowners by providing comprehesive green home inspections which teaches homeowners to save up to 30% per month on their electrical and water bills.