July 30, 2009

U.S. recession impacting older males

The unemployment rate for some older, male workers is at the highest level since the Great Depression, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

For white, male workers over 55, the unemployment rate has reached 6.5 percent, a post-Depression record, topping the 1983 rate of 5.4 percent, the previous post-Depression high, USA Today reported Thursday.

For older black males, the unemployment rate is 10.5 percent, more than a percentage point below its 1983 level, the newspaper said.

Nelse Grundvig, an economist at the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, said the recession had pushed unemployment, far deeper into layers of society than we've seen in the past.

Experts said downturns in manufacturing, finance and construction had slanted the job losses toward men.

The bloodletting has been in parts of the economy where men work, Grundvig said. People losing jobs are increasingly male and increasingly older.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond called the downturn a masculine recession.

Two-thirds of unemployed workers looking for training opportunities are men, he said.