Older Workers Face Higher Unemployment Amid Pandemic

A new study reveals older Americans have higher unemployment than workers at the midpoint of their career for the first time in nearly 50 years

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Jim Tipton was a proud American Airlines employee for 37 years, until the Fort Worth-based airline laid him off earlier this year soon after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Probably my first experience was just shock and awe. Maybe even a little depressed,” Tipton said about his initial reaction to the news that he would be forced to find new work.

New data unfortunately shows that Tipton is far from alone.

Older workers, 55 and up, have a higher unemployment rate (9.7%) than midcareer workers do (8.6%) for the first time in nearly 50 years, according to a report by the Associated Press.

A study released this week by the New School university revealed that older workers have been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn brought on by the ongoing pandemic.

Workers 55 and older “lost jobs sooner, were rehired slower and continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts ages 35 to 54,” according to the AP report.

When Jim Tipton lost his job, he turned to Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas for help refreshing his resume and his job searching skills.

“I was really focused. I said, ‘Lord, I know that this has happened for a reason, and you want me someplace else. What do I need to do?’” Tipton recounted.

The number one piece of advice Workforce Solutions has to offer to older workers like Jim Tipton is to really polish their resume.

“When you’re older you take for granted that you have all this experience,” said Enrique Rodriguez of Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas. “Until you tell somebody, they don’t know you have that experience.”

“One of the hardest things to do is to brag about yourself, but if you’ve got the experience we encourage you to put that on paper. It’s sometimes the only view the employer has to see if they even want to talk to you,” Rodriguez said.

Tipton said he made finding a job his full-time job, and focused on networking, speaking with employers, and taking advantage of free job training provided by Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas. Tipton now works in Human Resources for Envoy Air.

“Don’t be shy. Get on get on the computer. Pick up your cell phone. Start working your email. And make things happen,” Tipton said. “It is not easy. You just have to get out and make things happen for yourself.”

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