With Congress debating the next economic relief package, American workers are set to lose additional unemployment money at the end of the week.
The crisis has affected all sorts of workers, but one particular group is less likely to be able to recover – the older workforce.
AARP found 30% of older workers lost jobs or income because of COVID-19.
Research from the Great Recession found it takes older Americans twice as long to get back into the workforce. If they do, they almost always never end up making the money they used to.
AARP is also concerned businesses might be reluctant to hire older workers because of the increased risk to the virus.
“There’s now five generations for the first time ever in the workforce, so having that diverse age will actually help in bringing products and services to the market that appeal to a wide range of age of people,” said Susan Weinstock, VP of Financial Resilience at AARP.
Prior to the pandemic, businesses were looking to recruit older workers because of their unique soft skills: being empathetic, calm under pressure, and a good listener.
Multigenerational workforces tend to be more efficient, productive and have fewer errors and absenteeism.
“Think about something that happened at work when you are 25 and then when you are 55 and something similar happens you have some perspective you can bring,” said Weinstock.
AARP has resources specific for older workers affected by the pandemic, including a jobs board with a lot of remote work for those concerned about going to work in person.