Elderly work force struggles in the current job market

NORWICH – Despite the recent signs of a slowly-improving economy, some demographics in Chenango County struggle to find work, with the county’s senior population taking a big hit on the shoulder.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for people 55 and older has sharply increased since the start of the recent recession in December, 2007. In 2010, the average unemployment rate for seniors age 55-64 reached 6 percent in New York State (less than the national 7.1 percent average), with more than 17 percent the Chenango County population over the age of 65, according to the US Census Bureau.

Moreover, the labor force – seniors employed or looking for work – also climbed during the recession, meaning that while more seniors statewide are looking for work, some are successful; however, more and more are having difficulties finding employment.

In Chenango County and statewide, a number of challenges face seniors looking for employment, explained Karen Mastronardi, New York State Director for Experienced Works. Experience Works – an organization designed to provide training and employment for low income seniors age 55 and older – has worked with an influx of seniors in recent years.

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