Older unemployed finding age a barrier

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 24 at 5:11 PM

(KMOV.com) – Unemployment is declining and there are many bright spots with the local economy, but not everyone is finding a job.

In the St. Louis area the construction industry has seen a 20 percent job loss since 2007. The has also been an 18 percent drop in manufacturing.

However the number holding many back from finding work is their age.

“I went from like $90,000 to minimum wage in a three-year span,” said retired IT manager Rodger Jennings.

Jennings spent 35 years working with computers, mostly as an IT expert until his employer sent the IT jobs overseas. Now, at age 59, he can’t find a job.

“I’m finding because of my age it’s a real battle because I’ve offered to take less money for an IT job but they just say, ‘oh you won’t be happy,’” he said. “What am I to say.”

He added that, without a job, he’s headed to bankruptcy and will lose his house.

“I don’t care if it’s $50,000, $60,000, you know what- $30,000,” Jennings said. “I would work if somebody would give me the chance.”

Others share the same fate. Jo, and unemployed paralegal is struggling with a similarly cold market.  Despite checking online for job openings every day, her 25 years of experience doesn’t seem to have any value with potential employers.

“I have been looking for a job since May of 2012 and I think I’ve had maybe six interviews out of several hundred resumes that I sent out,” she said.

Jo has had to move into an apartment since losing her job, and says she picks up hints with potential new employers that the only thing holding her back is her age- 58.

“I even had one person interviewing me say, ‘at your age how many years do you think you’re going to want to work before you retire?’” she said. “I said at my age I can’t afford to retire.”

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