According to a recent study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), worker confidence about their retirement has stabilized around 16% in 2010, but is statistically equivalent to the record low reported in 2009 (13%). In 1991, the EBRI found that 11 % of Americans expected to work past the age of 65; in the subsequent years, that percentage has continued to climb, tripling to 33% in 2010. In California, the influence of the 60 and over age group is expected to emerge most strongly between 2000 to 2020, while those 85 and over will emerge most strongly between 2030 to 2040.
The Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board (LAWIB) launched a one-of-a-kind Mature Worker Council to address these trends several years ago and is now moving into its second phase to equip businesses with information about this population and to support laid off older workers. Chair Ted Anderson said, "The initial phases of the project included conducting a comprehensive survey to better understand the challenges and concerns of the dislocated or unemployed mature job seeker. From the research, we developed a Mature Worker Toolbox for our network of 18 federally-funded workforce development centers (WorkSource California) to assist our workforce professionals with developing strategies for the mature worker."
This is especially important for Los Angeles County, as the Census Bureau estimated that the 2009 population of those 65 years of age and older was approximately 1.04 million. If, as the ESRI study suggests, an average of 33% of these individuals are planning to remain employed past age 65, this would equate to more than 344,000 mature workers in the County's workforce. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August 2010 was 12.6% of nearly the County's
4.9 million workers. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, national unemployment rates are trending even higher in older populations, especially among males, where August estimates were 8.4%, contributing to an overall national unemployment rate of 7.3% for those 55 and older.
Given this confluence of an aging population, more workers needing to remain employed into their senior years, and high rates of unemployment, the LAWIB's Mature Worker Council is addressing these trends through a series of training made available to staff and interested businesses focused on strategies for effectively recruiting, placing and retaining mature workers. The LAWIB has formulated a Speaker's Bureau to speak on behalf of the WorkSource Centers about mature workers at various employer-related events. Additionally, educational materials for the mature worker will be available to the public throughout L.A. County at its 56 Libraries and 14 community and senior centers.
For additional information on how you can connect with your local WorkSource Center, go to www.worksourcecalifornia.com.
Chair, Los Angeles