Older workers enjoy job market’s best gains

People 55 and older account for more than half of job gains. Flexiblity in hours, low pay demands cited.

An international outplacement company — Challenger, Gray & Christmas — used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine that people aged 55 and older account for more than half of employment gains since 2010.

“The pace at which these job seekers are finding employment compared to younger ones suggests they could reach prerecession jobless rates before anyone else,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger in a recent report.

The Bureau did not have more local data, or data from 2012, available.

Local employment officials were unavailable for comment at the time of this report. But Challenger suggested that older workers may benefit from employers who want to keep hiring to a minimum during a sluggish economy.

“In this environment, a seasoned candidate who brings a wide variety of skills and experience to the table is going to have an advantage over younger candidates,” he said.

Donna Frederick, executive of United Senior Services on North Fountain Avenue, said sometimes older workers better serve a businesses clientele.

“Companies work with older adults because the populations that they serve appreciate older workers because of qualities they bring to the table,” Frederick said.

United Senior Services not only employs some older workers, it also has many who volunteer.

Frederick said her group even has former Navistar International Corp. drivers who volunteer to drive senior meal delivery vehicles.

The reason retired people choose to continue to work varies.

“A lot of seniors who used to be retired at 65 most often are now still in the workforce,” Frederick said. “They feel they can’t retire. They need to supplement their income from Social Security and pensions.”

Many workers also choose to work for a sense of self, she said.

“I think that’s a large reason people stay in workforce,” Frederick said. “They find perhaps retirement isn’t as fulfilling as they thought it would be and they enjoy working.”

Lou Hendricks, 77, has worked for Locust Hills Golf Club for 20 years since he retired from Chrysler.

He’s not alone in his choice. Hendricks said he works with retired school teachers and administrators, manufacturers and military.

“We get to meet all these young people to keep us young,” he said laughing.

Hendricks said he golfed at Locust Hills for years before his retirement, and then chose to work there because of that. He works in the club’s pro shop.

The owners are “nice people and it’s a pleasure to work with them,” he said. “And I get to meet a lot of new people.”

Andrew Kitchen, a golf professional at the club, said they hire retired people because it’s a better fit for the business.

“The last couple years we’ve hired several retired workers,” Kitchen said. “They’re not looking for high salaries, and they’re flexible in hours seasonally. They’re willing to work three to four months out of the year.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0371 or emason@coxohio.com.

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