NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Baby Boomers Now Encountering Layoffs

August 16, 2001

The oldest baby boomers are now reaching their mid-50s and they are losing their jobs at a faster pace than younger workers.

  • There are now more than 75 million American baby boomers born from 1946 to 1964.
  • The number of unemployed workers age 55 and older jumped about 23 percent from June 2000 to June of this year -- compared to an unemployment increase of just 10 percent among workers ages 20 to 24 years over the same period.
  • While the median job-search time is 3.3 months, workers over 50 take almost twice as long to identify and get a new professional role than workers who are 30 or younger, according to research from Drake Beam Morin, an outplacement firm.
  • Charges of age discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission jumped from about 14,000 in fiscal 1999 to 16,000 last year.

One bright spot for this generation of workers is that pension eligibility often begins at age 55. In 1999, 83 percent of men and 66 percent of women who were 55 were in the work force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: Stephanie Armour, "Maturing Boomers Smack into the 'Silver Ceiling,'" USA Today, August 16, 2001.

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