In August 2016, the jobless rate for workers age 55 or older was 3.5 percent. However, that figure may not represent reality for millions of older people who are seeking full-time work. When part-time workers who are seeking full-time work or the unemployed who have given up on finding a job are included, the real unemployment figure for older workers is 8.7 percent. This is according to Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School in New York City.
Overall, there are 2.5 million older Americans who are looking for jobs who cannot find one for any given reason. According to a 2013 survey of older Americans done by AARP, two-thirds of respondents believed that their age played a role in their difficulty finding work. While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal to treat those at or over the age of 40 less favorably than other applicants, such discrimination can be hard to prove.
However, data shows that older workers need 36 weeks to find a job as opposed to 26 weeks for their younger counterparts in 2015. A study from researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and Tulane University also found that resumes that were perceived to be from older workers were less likely to receive a response.
Older job applicants who believe that they were passed over for a job or otherwise treated unfairly may wish to consult with an attorney to see what rights they may have. Age discrimination can often be subtle, such using certain types of phrases in help wanted ads.