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Why The Middle Aged Are Missing Out On Jobs

(Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images)

Jobs are back! Just not for everybody. Think the college kids are having trouble finding jobs? The middle aged are having just as much hard luck. More seniors are working and younger people are more skilled, so that soaks up the jobs and doesn’t leave much for middle aged people who have bigger needs for their established families.

Like many other things in the stutter-step economic recovery, the job market is finally recovering, but progress is uneven and some people are being left out. The latest jobs report, for example, shows that the economy created 216,000 jobs in March, for a total of about 1.9 million new jobs since employment levels bottomed out at the end of 2009. That’s a healthy pace of job growth that will help bring down the uncomfortably high unemployment rate, and, with luck, cement the recovery.

But digging into the numbers reveals some of the unusual ways that work and retirement may be permanently changing for millions of Americans. Most of the new jobs created since the end of 2009, for one thing, are going to workers under the age of 34, or over the age of 55. Employment levels for middle-aged workers, meanwhile, are stagnant or still falling. Here’s a breakdown:

Age group Job gains last 15 months Unemployment rate

All adults 16 and over 1.9 million 8.8%

16 – 24 490,000 17.6%

25 – 34 709,000 9.1%

35 – 44 -143,000 7.2%

45 – 54 -454,000 7.1%

55 and over 1.3 million 3.1%

[via Yahoo]

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