Social Work Research, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 249 - 262
Social Work Research
This study examined the relationships between unemployment experience and recurrent unemployment and the four types of material hardships faced by older adults ages 50 to 61 since the Great Recession. Older workers face severe financial conditions when they lose a job, because they are less likely than younger workers to be reemployed and lack various public supports during unemployment. However, little is known about older workers’ struggles to maintain economic well-being following job loss. Using the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, authors found that about 12% of older workers experienced unemployment and 40% suffered a bill-paying, health, housing, or food hardship within two years after the Great Recession. The results of logistic regression indicate that unemployment experience and recurrent unemployment were associated with increased risks of experiencing a bill-paying, health, or food hardship, whereas housing hardships were not associated with unemployment problems. The findings shed light on older workers’ age-specific vulnerability in the U.S. labor market. Authors discuss social policy implications for improving their economic well-being during unemployment and recommend removal of reemployment barriers and strengthening of public supports for older workers.