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Age discrimination prevents older adults from finding work

Millions of older workers remain jobless and cannot find work despite employers creating thousands of jobs across the country each month. Older adults in California who are still looking for work might be experiencing age discrimination, according to data analysis and studies.

According to a report from the government, the unemployment rate for individuals older than 55 was 3.5 percent in August 2016. However, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis researchers examined the figures, adding part-time workers who want full-time jobs and unemployed individuals who gave up on finding work, and calculated an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent among older workers. The jobless rate climbs to 12 percent, or 2.5 million workers over the age of 55, when they add unemployed people who stopped searching after over four weeks.

According to an AARP survey in 2013, more than 60 percent of older adults believe that workplace age discrimination is a problem. The SCEPA also found that, in 2015, it took 36 weeks for older workers to find jobs, whereas it took younger workers up to 26 weeks.

Economists at Tulane University and the University of California at Irvine also found strong proof of age discrimination during hiring, especially among older female workers. After releasing 40,000 fake job applications with a range of ages, it found that the callback rate for applicants aged 49 to 51 was 29 percent lower and for those older than 64 was 47 percent lower than younger workers.

Federal law prohibits age discrimination in the workplace, which includes treating employees and job applicants who are 40 and older less favorably based on their age. Although it is harder to prove age discrimination during hiring than during termination, job seekers who believe that they have suffered from it could talk to employment law attorneys about their rights and legal options.

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