Story at a glance
- Unemployment rates have gone up across the board during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The unemployment rate is especially high for women 55 and older, compared to other populations.
- Since March, the unemployment rate for older women has grown by almost five times as much.
New data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that women 55 and older have been hit hard by the unemployment wave during the coronavirus pandemic.
The unemployment rate for older women in April was 15.5 percent, nearly five times what it was just one month earlier, according to the AARP’s analysis of the latest data. The rate of unemployment is higher with older women than both older men and the overall population of older workers, which have also increased.
In comparison, the unemployment rate for the general population in April was 12.1 percent, a little more than three times the rate in March, which was 3.4 percent.
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Older workers are likely to be unemployed much longer than younger workers, and some may even end up retiring early. Since March, the percentage of people 55 and older who are active in the labor force dropped from 39.8 percent to 38.6 percent, the analysis found.
States have begun to reopen their economies in hopes of lowering the unemployment rate. But even if they do find a new position, older workers are likely to end up settling for a lower position than their former job and put themselves at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 if they return to work.
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