I Want to Add a Word about Ageism in this Bizarre Labor Market and How it Hits Labor Force & Unemployment Numbers

And there was nothing in this jobs report to spook the Fed out of tightening.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The hiring pace has slowed from the red-hot levels in the second half last year and earlier this year, but is still strong: Employers added 372,000 workers to their payrolls in June, and 1.12 million over the past three months, bringing the total number of employees to 152.0 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ survey of employers today.

This moderate strength in payrolls confirms other data, such as initial unemployment claims – which ticked up a little in recent weeks but remain near historic lows – and the huge number of job openings, “quits,” and “hires,” along with near-record low layoffs. Among reports of large-scale staff shortages in the healthcare system, school systems, restaurants, manufacturers, airlines, etc., there are also now some reports of small-scale layoffs in the over-the-top startup scene and in specific corners of tech and social media.

Payrolls are still down by 524,000 from the pre-pandemic peak and remain well below the pre-pandemic trend (green line), which is part of a bizarre phenomenon – the labor force – that we’ll get to in a moment.

But households, in a separate survey by the BLS today, had a more complicated message. The household survey data is used to estimate the labor force – the people who have a job or are actively looking for a job – and among other factors, the number of working people, including the self-employed and entrepreneurs that are not in the employer data above.

Households reported that the number of working people fell by 315,000 in June, and by 347,000 over the past three months, to 158.1 million. This was the first three-month decline since June 2020.

This decline in the number of working people may have to do with people checking out of the labor force for whatever reason, which we’ll get to in a moment.

And it’s not due to layoffs as the number of unemployed people who are actively looking for work fell to a new pandemic low in June, according to the BLS today, now at 5.9 million, the lowest since February 2020 (5.7 million).

The labor force refuses to grow.

The labor force – the people who are working or are actively looking for work – fell by 353,000 in June, thereby undoing the gain in May. At 164.0 million, the labor force is essentially where it had been in February, with some wobbles in between.

This is a bizarre phenomenon, and many folks, including the Fed, are now suggesting that the old normal labor market may never return, that something has changed permanently, to a new normal, where some people are less willing to work, either because they have enough money already, or are retired, or are aged out of the labor force without wanting to retire, or because of whatever other reason.

I want to add a word here about ageism.

Ageism is a real problem. And it could also be responsible for the low labor force getting stuck at this level.

Boomers are now between around 56 and 76. This is a huge generation. And in tech, when the hiring manager is 32, and you’re 56, it’s tough getting that job. And when you’re 62, it’s even tougher just to get anyone’s attention. Some succeed. But many don’t.

Many of these people, often with a superb job history, may never get a job in their field again. Many of them made enough money to where they don’t have to work. They’d like to work, but it’s tough getting ignored or rejected time after time because of age.

And they give up “actively” looking for a job, and thereby they’re removed from the labor force.

They were dropped from the labor force due to ageism, not because they wanted to retire. And they might tell everyone, after they give up looking, that they’re “retired,” when in fact, they’d love to work in their field but are locked out.

I know a few of those people. They would love to work. And for about a year, they tried to get someone’s attention but failed. They’re not going to work at a Walmart store because they don’t have to. They want to work in their field, or not work at all. After they come to grips with the reality that they may never work in their field again, they give up and are dropped from the labor force.

Some of them may start their own thing, and that’s wonderful, and then they’d be part of the labor force again, and they’d be working again, and if they can pull it off, it may be the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done. But not many people do that, can do that, or want to do that.

This issue of dropping out of the labor force due to ageism – rather than due to voluntary retirement – is real, and there are a lot of people in this age group. They’ll then label themselves as “retired” when in fact they just cannot find a job in their field.

Wages among non-managers surged, but less than raging inflation.

Average hourly earnings of non-management workers, the “production and nonsupervisory employees” in all industries – coders, waiters, teachers, police officers, construction workers, etc. – jumped by 0.5% in June from May, and by 6.4% from a year ago to $27.45 per hour.

Beyond the distortions in 2020, the year-over-year increases of over 6% in the past nine months were the biggest since early 1982. But they were still outrun by raging inflation, with CPI inflation in recent months raging at over 8%.

The distortions in hourly wages during the pandemic were a result of millions of low-wage workers getting laid off while office workers switched to working from home, which removed tens of millions of lower-paid workers from the wage mix, thereby inflating the average hourly earnings, which then snapped back when these people returned to work.

The Employment Population ratio, which tracks the percentage of people in the working-age population who are working, declined from 60.1% in May to 59.9% in June, and was back where it had been in February this year. Before the pandemic, in February 2020, the ratio was 1.3 percentage points higher (61.2%). This is another aspect of the phenomenon of the labor force getting stuck at such a low level.

The unemployment rate, at its narrowest definition, remained at 3.6%, unchanged for the fourth month in a row and about where it had been before the pandemic. This unemployment rate is the percentage of people who are in the labor force, but are not working, and are actively looking for work.

Look at it this way: A bunch of 58+ year-olds cannot find a job in their field due to ageism, though there may be a “labor shortage” in their field. And then, discouraged, they stop actively looking for work because they can afford to. And as soon as they stop “actively” looking for work, they’re dropped from the labor force, and don’t count as unemployed, and don’t figure into this unemployment rate. Ageism hitting the huge boomer generation could be explaining a lot of disconnects in this labor market.

Nothing here to spook the Fed out of tightening further.

This data still paints the image or a tight labor market, dogged by the phenomenon of the labor force having gotten stuck at low levels, with relatively few people actively looking for work, while employers are still trying to staff up, and are still increasing wages at rates not seen since 1982 in order to attract and retain workers. And this is not the kind of data that would spook the Fed out of tightening by raising its policy rates further and by continuing with QT which it kicked off in June.

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  289 comments for “I Want to Add a Word about Ageism in this Bizarre Labor Market and How it Hits Labor Force & Unemployment Numbers

  1. jon says:

    I have a friend in San Diego, laid off as a Lecturer in Local College and he is having hard time finding a decent job in his field.

    • Djreef says:

      They’ve started cutting hours where I work. CEO’s are starting to get cautious.

      • joedidee says:

        Homeless depot is cutting former full timers to 12 hours per week
        and of course getting rid of low hanging fruit
        guy I saw was upper 60’s and with GAS prices 12 hours is for teens
        —-
        I to am looking for extra stuff this coming WINTER/late fall
        of course I’m in S U N N Y climate and winters are great

        but I start at $100 per hour now – keep saying this winter I’ll catch up

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      jon,
      just curious… how old is he?

      • jon says:

        48 year old.

        All these stories about 2 job opening for one unemployed does not seem true based on my experience.
        May be true for low paying jobs e.g. servers, hospitality workers etc.

  2. Minutes says:

    Never understood ageism up or down in age. You can either do a job or you can’t.

    • SoCalBeachDude says:

      Indeed, and the fact is that most ‘workers’ in America simply can’t even come close to doing the ‘job.’

    • OutWest says:

      That has been my personal experience in the workplace. Someone always steps up to get the job done, regardless of age.

      • kam says:

        It is the Fed that ruined the Labor Market. By creating liquidity and cheap credit, which helped fund absurd IPO’s (start-ups capturing camel farts) that could offer shares in their enterprises, removing talent from legit businesses.
        Ageism? Yesterday a business friend asked me to go to his plant and tell him how I would install a used wood hog that he had bought. It was pretty worn out, but would do the job. He brought over the guy installing it and I suggested that they grout (industrial or better yet, plastic grout) and the younger guy says to me “is that an old guy thing”. I smiled and said that the machine certainly was not balanced and it he wanted the hog to walk out into the parking lot when they start it up, then just go ahead with the “young and inexperienced” thing.

    • Mark_2 says:

      Managers want competent AND loyal. Loyal looks a lot like the manager him/herself.

      If we lived in a society that read, reflected and could discuss controversial topics honestly, well then,,,,,,,,,,,,this would STILL be true, but less so.

      • Harrold says:

        Companies want cheap employees. 62 year old employees will drive up medical expenses. This is another example of why company provided medical is a bad idea.

        • Mark_2 says:

          @Harrold
          That’s true and maybe the “company” pressures its managers in this way. Still, amongst the more desirable subset of candidates the manager will choose someone similar to themselves. Someone more knowable/predictable (relatable/controllable). IMO

        • Implicit says:

          Many “old timers” only want to work part time, or by contract, which does not require companies to supply med. insurance; especially if they are on Medicare.
          Part time and contract work has become more popular for all age groups, and many employers like the savings with less medical insurance.

        • random guy 62 says:

          +100

          Not many come out and say it because it’s probably illegal but trying to gauge a candidate’s healthcare expenses has become an important factor in our hiring decisions. Age is the biggest factors influencing that expense.

          Healthcare used to be 2-3% of revenue. Our worst year was 2020 at 9%. It is running 6-7% in 2022.

          That and we tend to find that a lot of older employees need to be “dragged across the finish line.” This is mostly because their skillset was made obsolete by technology – especially in office jobs.

          No joke… had to show an older employee that an e-mail could be sent to multiple recipients at the same time. She had used it for 15 years before learning that.

          Another older fellow had no idea how to OPEN an excel file, and no idea how to print to PDF. He would print a physical piece of paper, and rescan it in the copy machine and e-mail it back to himself to get a PDF on an e-mail. Both of these are long-tenured office employees. I could go on and on…

          Two shop supervisors hunt and peck the keyboard with their pointer fingers…one key at at a time! We’ve tried computer training. Some old dogs just don’t learn new tricks.

          I hate that we have to even consider healthcare costs in our employment calculations, but some folks need to take a good hard look in the mirror about their skillset if they are struggling to find a job in their older years.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          True enough re skill set r62:
          Have been suggesting, on here and elsewhere, that folks OF ANY AGE who are not employed and want to be, spend tons of time studying up on ”evolving time saving tech in their field” while job hunting.
          Having gone back to my professional field in my 70s after six years away, it damn sure took my every spare moment for a month or so to speed my updating, while I had had plenty of spare spare time to have done for six years.
          OTOH, I preferred all cash in lieu of benefits, being fully on VA, SS, etc. after having paid into latter system for 60 years.

        • Flea says:

          Isn’t this discrimination,hahaha,bullshit law

        • cobo says:

          Dear Vintage VNvet, “it damn sure took my every spare moment for a month or so to speed my updating” I feel sorry for you, to be saying that when you’re 70. I never learned to “type,” but I spent a little more than a dozen years developing cutting edge software. I’ve reached my full retirement age, and although it wasn’t what I’d planned, I am now retired. The funny thing is, the one skill that has been consistent for me over the years is my ability to bring people together to run teams (herd cats) or develop and keep long-term business relationships. At this point, I am actually more capable here than I’ve ever been. But dude, I’m retired. I’ll find part-time job(s) that don’t bother me or are even fun. I would only go back to full-time work if I was doing something I really liked or I felt was important. And believe you me, this old snake bites, won’t be polishing any backsides.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Cobo:
          That was several years ago after my second ”retirement” and, as usual, got bored and wanted something to sink my teeth into. Really enjoyed working with a new generation of ”go getters,” but finally did get bored with the work I was doing, and had done for many decades and decided to ”hang up the spurs” and take it easy, in spite of the likely boredom.
          Wolf’s wonder helps with that part, far damn shore…

        • ru82 says:

          Kids also drive up medical costs

          I worked at a Fortune 500 company that 10 years ago laid off 1/2 of their team of 22 . Everyone they laid off was married and had kids. Everyone they kept was single or married without kids. They did keep a couple of empty nesters in their late 50,s

        • Dazed And Confused says:

          But 65+ year old employees will drive down medical expenses since companies can require them to go onto Medicare instead of company funded insurance.

          This argument should also apply to unhealthy employees of any age – employees with chronic conditions in their 30s – obese hypertensive diabetics for example. Their medication costs a fortune and they may take more sick days too.

        • cobo says:

          VintageVNvet, I totally get that.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          I know a woman who lost her job at the “prestigious” IMG Academy in Florida (a place where the Williams sisters and other famous athletes train). She said everything was fine until she got cancer. Suddenly, they didn’t want her anymore.

          The same poor woman is so brainwashed by Fox “news” that one time she told me “We don’t need unions anymore.” I thought: “Actually, YOU needed a union when you were fired after 15 years of hard work for the crime of getting cancer.”

          But I figured “Why bother, the people that have been programmed by this BS are usually beyond reach.”

    • Lily Von Schtupp says:

      ‘Elder Millenial’ here. Graduated college during the Great Recession. Not a healthcare job to be found despite nonstop TV commercials from J&J flooding the airwaves. Hiring freezes galore. Half my graduating class were still bartending, etc. The rest of us were scraping by on PT or per diem work in nursing homes or home care in dangerous neighborhoods, which were all that was hiring.

      Many a Boomer, own parents included, were pretty stable and safe at their careers (the ones I knew, anyway). It was the young guys (my age) getting laid off, and of course it was the young guys’ faults with their lazy yet demanding Millenial ways. It was our work ethic, I heard time and time again. “I worked in a gas station after high school and bought a condo in Waterbury, that’s too good for you?” – my own Boomer father. I was down to maybe one meal a day living in a studio over an industrial paint shop (effects of which are just kicking in) and using bottle change to afford tampons.

      Fast forward 5-10 years and ageism kicked in hard. Things improved career-wise for us ‘lazy Millenials’, but Boomers started having a go of it. Verizon had a class action lawsuit for pushing Boomer-aged workers into early retirement or straight-up laying them off. Nowadays, its virtually impossible for the 60+ crowd to get work.

      Definitely not saying “Haw-haw”. I’ve rounded age 40 and am seeing it creeping in on my profession. But, given some of the sentiment I’ve seen expressed on here from people who are otherwise self-professed fans of hard data and numbers, I figured its worth pointing out next time someone wants to slag a Millenial, Boomer, Gen Z-er, whoever, no one is truly safe in a system & culture that pushes rugged individualism while neglecting to respect the community it takes to have a successful labor market. You step on enough backs getting to you top, eventually you’ll run out of backs to step on and gotta hope there’s not a hard landing.

      This will be all of us some day until this country gets respectful of one another. Pigs taking flight to come first.

      • RS says:

        Lily Von Schtupp! Best part of the report was your comment. Write, Lily, write!

        • HowNow says:

          Yep, good stuff LVS. You must be “exhausted…kaput”! But do keep it up, if you’re willing.

      • Enlightened Libertarian says:

        Lily, here is one boomer who has a lot more sympathy for your generation than I do for my own.
        Anyone my age [67] had the greatest opportunity in the history of the world to prepare for their old age. If they didn’t I don’t think they should be sucking off their kids and grandkids for their retirement and health-care and running up mountains of government debt for their pet programs.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        Hmmm. My experience interviewing millennials for jobs, especially entrants or jejune applicants, was consistent and adamant salary demands well beyond that justified by experience.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          RS- I wrote you a note: “I must see you in my dwessing woom after the show.”

          Enlightened- My side of the Millenials had it obnoxiously cozy in high school/late 90s, reality didn’t hit hard until the 1999-2000 and student loans were suddenly mandatory for the majority, it slid down hill not long from there.

          I pity everyone from all gens right now, its a shit show out there, but mostly my Boomer parents. They had solid careers without college degrees (horray for nepotism), free childcare (my grandparents), relatively cheap houses, new cars, regular vacations, pensions, and look back on their lives still feeling like they struggled miserably while truly struggling now. Well, Dad anyway. You’d have to knock pretty hard on Mom’s coffee can to get her opinion, but before she got out the easy way, in Life she was a total victim of her time.

          PJ- under-experienced 30-40 year-olds interviewing for entry level positions? A tad curious.

        • phillip jeffreys says:

          LVS…yes newbies. IT “stuff”. In many ways, IT is, as a senior official I once supported put it, ‘a white collar employment service’. Had to get that one in! Context: I did a brief stint as a GS-14 pogue in one of the Service’s data centers. These kids had skills – but they expected $90K minimum right off the bat! There are skills and then there is understanding the mission, translating that into requirements and architecture, accounting for the ten billion standards and ‘paradigms’ (that are replaced every 6-8 years). It’s one thing to take care of some server farm and quite another to think as an engineer, understand system-of-systems, and fix things when they break down in an expeditious fashion (to include coordinating teams). Where the lack of experience often showed up most was in integration. These kids would price themselves out. The gov’t hired at the GS-7/8 level and grew/trained the neophytes into higher pay grades.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          PJ- now you have my interest piqued. At 40, I’m beyond done with US healthcare. Looking to go into IT– EMR build. 14 year game plan of leaving the US for somewhere in Scandinavia (gotta wait out the younglings until they’re 21. Thanks, NYS) to finish off my remaining working/living years.

          What’s the reality of a gal in her early 40s who’s relatively handy-capable with computers making a transition to an IT field? I hear there’s solid demand in IT for HCPs, but yeah, 90k would have to be a minimum in my area because, picky as I am, I prefer my kids to be able to both eat AND have a roof overhead.

      • Miller says:

        “You step on enough backs getting to you top, eventually you’ll run out of backs to step on and gotta hope there’s not a hard landing.”

        That’s very well said Lily, and it’s so true. That’s the danger and perhaps the fatal flaw of the US style of capitalism, the American form has its pros and cons but it tends to erode its support networks and eat its seed corn. There’s too obsessive of a focus on the short term as opposed to longer term, too much ignoring or externalities, too much of a tendency to profiteer even in places that should be more like public services (education, healthcare, divorce and family law, even things like school lunches and roads and tolls now). This is one area where the various Asian forms of capitalism, or the ones in Europe or the more functional parts of South America, may have more shock absorbers. They’re all very capitalist (Sweden and France for all the talk of their social systems, if anything have some of the most hurried and ambitious office cultures for those of us with overseas postings). But they also get that there have to be boundaries, with some communitarian spirit like you point out here.

        • drifterprof says:

          Yes I strongly agree with you and LVS about the gross lack of constructive social culture in so many United States work environments. Almost all attempts to promote communitarian environments are painfully fake. It seems to be exacerbated by extreme individualism and so-called “capitalism.” But I suspect that, to a large extent, it is also general human nature regardless of culture.

          In my opinion, most U.S. work environments I experienced were too permeated with self-promoting snakes, dog-eat-dog types, prima donnas, brazen sucking up, and so on.

          I really like the communitarian cultural aspects of the little corner of Asia where I have retired. For example, if someone walks in front of you or crosses your path, they often give a little bow to indicate humility and neutralize what might be considered an intrusion.

          Or in many situations related to dealing with people (like when I tip a delivery person, masseuse, or restaurant server), the person will put their palms together and give a little bow.

          One really gets a strong sense of communal respect and compassion for people in general, as compared to the hostile, combat-ready, derisive personal interaction void often found in American culture.

      • Tamara says:

        I would retire tomorrow if I didn’t have to work for a living. Also many stock and crypto retirees will be coming back towork soon. Turns out that labor, not idle assets create value.

        • phillip jeffreys says:

          That’s funny!

          Were that so for the scions of the rich!

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Good thing I cashed in all the crypto and put the $ into “rare” and “collectible” beanie babies.

    • Prince Gbanga says:

      Most employers think of a hire as a call option on the rest of the employee’s career. This is an exploitative attitude, but it’s to be expected when each employer has hundreds to thousands of employees, but each employee has *one* employer.

      Anyways, for older workers: they may have excellent skills, but that call option doesn’t have the upside that employers feel entitled to.

      It’s a messed up system.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        So much better to have a system where the political class determines the allocation and value of resources!

    • roddy6667 says:

      An older worker has more medical issues and causes the health insurance to cost more. A worker who has been at one company for decades has a lot of vacation every year. This is three or more weeks a year he gets paid to do nothing. He gets paid a lot more than a new hire. The new paradigm is to constantly churn the employees to blow out the old guys and hire fresh meat.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        True. Seen same. Except that that the same worker probably received little leave early on in their career.

      • Nate says:

        Ha, that is not a new phenom. Been going on for decades.

    • 2banana says:

      The Ukraine has a full draft for all men 18-60.

      And they are banned from leaving the country too.

      No ageism there!

    • phillip jeffreys says:

      Yes and no. Experience here: if you’ve been working for 30+ yrs, say in a field like cybersecurity, you’re earning a very nice income. Firms prefer to hire young and cheaper. Only place I haven’t seen this is gov’t where one can nest for a long time (whether productive or not) or leverage contacts with peers who now hold senior positions.

      • TK says:

        From experience too. Younger and cheaper even if a “project” hire, meaning they need to be taught from the ground up. Smart young people with potential indeed but cheaper is the motive. An older seasoned person would need to be ok with a 50% salary reduction. That never happens and the owners know it. Private equity buyouts seem to be a catalyst for top-grading. They borrow the max on assets, pay themselves a risk bonus, then tell Mgmt to increase operating income by 20% or else. And so goes cannabalism, err I mean capitalism. It can be cruel.

        • phillip jeffreys says:

          On the flip side: I haven’t had the energy to do so, but there is a not insignificant number of retired military types (yes, I served a career) who retire into the MIC, retire again after the big payout in stocks, and then set up their own little businesses. These businesses can be quite lucrative acting as middlemen for contractual coordination (it’s all over the place for Ukraine) leveraging their knowledge of where things are ‘parked’ globally. Folks in their 70s making a lotta scratch off all this gov’t excess. Let’s face it – take Ukraine as an example – there has been no accounting at all where all the gov’t money is going.

        • phillip jeffreys says:

          Forgot to mention: a really cake position for many of these small companies is advising foreign entities on the regs/requirements (the paperwork; certifications) for bidding on US gov’t programs. Offset hires are especially nice! There are opportunities for older folks – but it requires understanding how the system (the big one) works!

        • kam says:

          TK

          “And so goes cannabalism, err I mean capitalism”

          Buyouts and stripping viable businesses, would rarely happen without the Communist/Politburo System of the Federal Reserve conjuring money and credit out of thin air and handing it out for free (yes, interest on money at interest rates less than inflation is free) to its friends and masters.
          Free Enterprise Entrepreneurial Capitalism was knee-capped a long, long time ago.

    • Miller says:

      Agree, this is one of the USA’s dumber and self defeating policies, which I commented on in the discussion from a couple articles back. There were the familiar falsehoods about China’s dependency ratio and how it was much worse off than the US and the West. Whenever any of us with experience in Asia hear that trite old myth, we roll our eyes at how stupidly off the mark it is, a projection of American culture (and its ageism and cultural failings) on a totally different society for the elderly. Not only is the claim wrong on pure numbers–China’s population is still growing though more slowly, and China gets a huge amount of regional immigration from ex. Vietnam, Philippines, Korea and ethnic overseas Chinese–but senior citizens in China routinely stay employed in their fields into their 70’s, 80’s and beyond, and are valued for their knowledge and wisdom. There’s no “dependency ratio” problem like in the United States because older workers in East Asian countries prefer to stay working, and are valued and helped by society. The American problem that Wolf vividly described, with older and qualified workers esp in tech “put out to pasture” (esp if they can be replaced by cheap labor imported on an H1B visa), is one of our stupider and more damaging cultural blunders, and another reason we’re falling behind Asian countries more and more.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        Unless, of course, one happens to oppose prevailing policy. Then, ummm, they just sorta disappear from the voting the roles with a certain degree of terminal permanence.

    • robert says:

      The reality is you get rid of the old people, some of whom are burned out – or not – and hire younger, and cheaper. It’s been going on forever.
      The trouble is the old people carried the company culture and knowledge because they grew up in it and the younger people didn’t. And the old ones, like any activity, though they seemed to move slow could accomplish double or more what the new ones could spinning their wheels.
      I found in later years when I still worked that when you called up a company literally nobody knew anything if they couldn’t bring it up on a computer screen. No product knowledge, no actual inventory knowledge, nothing.
      I knew everything about the products, where they were, and if the computer was wrong, which it most often was.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        There are valuable older people who are productive, carry the culture forward and can navigate waves of uncertainty with some degree of skill.

        Problem is that there are a lot who are in place for political reasons – not knowledge, experience or excellence.

    • HotTub says:

      My entire department (including me) was laid off three years ago. My job in tech was sent to India. From those I still keep in contact with at my former employer, I hear there are FOUR people doing the job I did, and the quality those four produce is LOUSY. Well, karma’s a bitch.

      Have I found another job? Nope. Why? Because I’m not interested. Made enough mulah and stockpiled a ton of savings so I took early retirement. I have no interest in working ever again, ESPECIALLY in the corporate world.

    • Harmon says:

      No one has commented on the elephant in the room which is the dramatic increase in disability in the last 2 years. People drawing SSDI has gone from under 10 million in 2019 to more than 12 million in 2021. This is an increase of more than 20% in 2 years. Data from SS Administration. Look it up.

      • Old school says:

        Our political system doesn’t seem to be able to be honest with finances. It fell to the Fed to keep the system going and so they did. They are scared that people are going to lose trust in their desire not print us into oblivion.

        If you want 10% long term returns in the SP500 it’s got to fall to about 1500. Let’s see if they tighten enough to take us back to trend.

    • Bathelix says:

      It really seems like failure to the top when I look around at the people I know. I am attempting a career change into tech from finance and while it’s just my opinion … I’m fairly certain from seeing my classmates that I am more capable, hard working and experienced than most of them yet they seem to have a much easier time getting hired. It seems ridiculous honestly as most of the 35-60 year olds I know seem like they should be a much more desirable hire than the younger ones I’ve seen. Most of the younger ones have no work ethic and expect to get paid $100K for voicing their opinions between whatever they are doing online. They all go on and on about how important mental health is when they really just mean they think they should be able to take time off to pursue their interests instead of working. I feel as though I’m worth 3 of them and really think that is an objective opinion even though I recognize my position here.

      • phillip jeffreys says:

        Yes and no.

        I number among the age burdened boomer generation – something I much prefer to the alternative!

        I was involved in cybersecurity, worked some sophisticated ‘stuff’, kept my toes in the waters after retiring. That said, the rate of change, industrialization and specialization in offensive cyber warfare has been stunning to me. Older, very often (but not always), translates to ‘management’. The time trade-offs become more impactful as one matures into seniority and must attend 50 dozen weekly meetings while addressing 10 thousand weekly emails from rungs above and below on the corporate/gov’t ladder. That doesn’t leave much time to read the latest political propaganda in Wired and like tech mags (much less hands on time)!

        What I have seen as lucrative pursuits are consulting gigs either short-term hires or independent businesses.

    • Isaac S. says:

      I understand ageism. Old people are too hard to train and cost too much compared to training a moderately experienced young, up and coming worker.

  3. Nate says:

    I don’t work in tech, but it always seemed irrational how devalued experience was in their workforce. I think younger workers are overvalued in general because often you’re training your competitors’ future employees. But when Wall Street is so lenient when it comes to profits most of the time, I guess you can get away with bad HR management and free meals.

    • BenW says:

      I left IT for being a HS math teacher in 2008. Best decision I ever made. I work 9 months a year, giving me 3 off. During the school year, I only work about six weeks before taking at least one week vac. My work day is about 5.5 hours with a 1.5 hour plannnig period. I have my Specialist. I’m due for a merit raise this year which will bring my annual salary to a tad below $79K. Our district told us a few weeks ago that the average teacher, me, would be getting a $4,500 raise this year. When I retire at 63 after 21 years of teacher, I’ll be making $90K. With a year of banked sick leave, I’ll have 22 years in the TRS. @ 2% per year of my final two salaries making at least 90K, I’ll gross about $40K a year. Not bad.

      So the moral of the story is I totally agree with Wolf, and I’m glad that I had the forethought to change careers before ageism (aka age discrimination) cut short my IT career.

      The labor market is very strong right now, much more so than Wall Street wants to believe. It could be 6-9 months before we see negative job numbers.

      • Ben, I also made a similar decision when getting laid off from construction management in early 2009 to become a math teacher. It took me several years to get certified in PA (I grandfathered myself into the pension system working as a substitute janitor while taking classes) and finally get a job but I now have 7 years in and I’ll be able to retire at 63 with 30 years. I’ll get 2.5% per year so I should get around 75% of the average of my last couple years. I always do wonder if the pension will be there but I figure the same market forces that would destroy a pension plan would also obliterate a 401k. I’m still happy I made the decision to switch careers.

        • BenW says:

          Absolutely. And the nice thing is that I feel like I’m making a difference. I usually teach 1-2 gifted courses per semester which is really rewarding, and I coach lacrosse which is a lot of fun.

          Cheers!

    • phillip jeffreys says:

      Bingo!

  4. Trailer Trash says:

    “A cause of America’s labor shortage: Millions with long COVID”

    “… analysis found that an equivalent of 1.6 million people are missing from the full-time workforce because of the disease, which can leave people incapacitated for months …”

    [from CBS News]

    Long COVID is real and the numbers are growing. It is life-destroying because the medical machine and overall society simply dismiss people with Long COVID as lazy, work-shy, seeking attention, depressed, anxious, etc.

    Dear doctors and society, please stop abusing people with chronic illness. It doesn’t make us well enough to return to work.

    • Sutter Cane says:

      Yeah, I saw that drop in the chart beginning in 2020 and thought “Hmm, what massive societal event coincided with this drop?”

      You take a million people out of the population due to death, and who knows how many more due to ongoing illness, and that’s got to do something to the workforce as well…

    • 2banana says:

      More companies threw away excellent employees because they didn’t want the sharpy thing.

      Literally, destroyed their business over that.

      And are still, proudly, not hiring anyone who does have the sharpy thing…four times.

      You can’t fix that kind of level of stupid.

    • Miller says:

      Yeah a lot of our people including many of our best and most experienced have been out with COVID complications, same with a lot of other companies we work with at least in US. Don’t know how many got formally diagnosed with long COVID, but it’s scary how many had what seemed to be mild or minor cases of COVID-19, then 3 to 5 months later they come back and they’re tossing off clots into their lungs or legs, the heart rhythm is messed up or their liver is looking worse than a homeless guy with a 30 year history of alcoholism. The scariest part is this seems to be happening with a lot of American kids exposed at school too, and now they’re saying the USA one of the most resistant coronavirus strains of the pandemic spiking up now, BA5 or something, that’ll infect you and put you in the hospital even if you’ve gotten COVID once or twice already. So no herd immunity at all. This may turn out to be one of COVID’s most important complications more than the immediate disease itself, permanently reduce the US workforce and labor force participation across all kinds of sectors and companies.

      • DDS says:

        This is something that not many are talking about, that may account for a lot of anomalies in the labor market. Tens of millions of people with long covid; millions more scared of getting it.

        Twenty five to thirty percent of everybody who gets covid–even a mild case–has serious symptoms four months later. Some still sick two years later. Each reinfection rolls the dice.

        Gee, I wonder why aren’t people showing up for all the jobs?

        There’s a new variant on the rise; cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising. There’s a new surge in Europe, which is two weeks ahead up the US.

        But “covid is over”!

        • Miller says:

          True to all of this, and it sounds like we may be just hearing tip of the iceberg. We get updates on COVID and long COVID as part of our HR “be aware of this or that risk” series, and every month it’s like there’s new info on how even mild COVID-19 cases can wreck a lot of your organs. And unfortunately, you don’t get immune to it by getting COVID once–you can get it year after year and it’ll wreck you a little more each time. This has a lot of scary prospects but above all like you say, being heedless and neglectful about the ongoing pandemic may well be the straw that breaks the back of the US labor force.

  5. andy says:

    No ageism among our political leaders. Same people are leading us for 40+ years and counting.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      I would argue in fact with some of these politicians you want some healthy level of ageism, just look at Feinstein and Grassly, would do the American public good if they retired 20 yrs ago instead of getting someone that barely know where she is at..

    • Anthony A. says:

      Please define “leader”.

    • phillip jeffreys says:

      True…idiotism seems to be age agnostic in the political class.

  6. Not Sure says:

    In my experience, boomers from their late 50s to early 60s near retirement were the first group clamoring, even begging to take their severance and retire early in 2020. Employers needed to shed workers and older workers were almost universally more than happy to oblige.

    I held on to the one boomer in my department and he was smart enough to foresee that the pandemic would taper off and he’d be left in a pool of ageism afterward, so he wasn’t begging to leave. Some of these folks may have 20 or 30+ years with a company, and they’re a treasure trove of knowledge within an organization. But if they want to enter a new organization with only a few productive years left on their odometer, I could definitely see why they’re having difficulty.

    My take is that a wise older employee is still worth onboarding in such a tight labor market, even if it’s only for a little while… Better than nothing while the employment pool rebounds, folks crawl back into the workforce as they run out of dwindling stimulus/forbearance/refi money, and the younger side of the entry-level workforce matures. I guess not every hiring manager sees it that way.

    • Harrold says:

      1959 was the peak year in births and they all turned 62 last year, qualifying for Social Security.

      • El Katz says:

        I have three ex-colleagues that took a retirement package (65+) from my ex-employer. All three went to work at a competitor who wanted their expertise in alternative fuel vehicles, customer relations, and parts operations…. at a salary that is higher than what they were previously paid.

        So, ageism isn’t rampant everywhere. And my ex-employer suffered a tremendous brain drain when much of the institutional memory left for greener pastures.

        To Lily:

        My daughter was working at a “fashion house” in San Francisco when the SHTF. She was @ 25 years of age. Her employer at the time essentially had “firing squads” visit desks (security guard and HR cretin) and abruptly escorted people to the door. They boxed up their personal items from their desks and shipped them to the now ex-employee. What a way to build loyalty among the survivors.

        She survived but never forgot that lesson.

      • TK says:

        Yep, I am one of those. I’d rather have my title and responsibility back! But I guess I am too old. Funny I don’t feel old. But as a former HR exec I always preached risk reduction. In other words, we had a really stressful work environment. The best new hire was someone willing to give something up – another good job. They were more likely to stay over someone ok not working. Plus the younger attractive types were more appealing to our clients. Taller Men were a bonus. Like or not, just reality.

  7. Marc says:

    Ageism. Similar story here for me in Canada, I got retired by circumstances. On the bright side better to enjoy limited life than have an illness later on. Covid was a good wake up call. Money cannot buy life.

  8. imafuckoffer says:

    54, 2 year gap in employment in my field that has been taken over by imported h1b and l1 workers. nothing speaks the truth like facts. i would work. i submit resumes, speak to recruiters, gets the usual questions about the gaps in my resume and never hear back. i feel fortunate to have what i do.

    • Bobber says:

      In my book, the 50-year old with no employment gaps is the oddity. How could a person with creativity and independent thinking sit in a corporate environment for so long without a break? Why is meeting the expectations of others so satisfying to some people?

      Live your life. It’s yours.

      • Miller says:

        Agreed. I’ve worked as a hiring manager, and always hated how HR often uses the stupid old “employment gap” excuse as a reason to deny a further look or interview of an applicant. We’ve explicitly instructed our HR screeners to de-emphasize it (even fired a couple HR people ourselves who overused it), except in cases where the employment gap was clearly associated with inadequate training or skills in the field (which is a separate discussion). Many of our best employees in fact have had gaps in their working careers, whether for family or medical reasons (chronic illnesses), or just for being creative, trying out an artistic career or their own business. Some have even had a criminal history but got cleaned up, and are esp determined to do things right. These people tend to be more clever and able to think outside the usual boxes to check. Using a working gap against applicants is one of the dumber and more harmful practices from too many HR departments.

        • fajensen says:

          I have had HR argue over “gaps” in the resume of a person who worked as a contractor!

          It’s dumbass all the way through in corp-rat land!

          In my opinion, people should just make something interesting and wholesome up that fills the “gaps”.

          Nobody cares what the story is, as long as it’s mildly entertaining, coherent and not the stuff that a sociopath would come up with – doing black-ops in Bosnia for the Navy Seals is NOT quite the sales pitch that the kind of people who choose that story thinks it is :).

          Yep, we have had that one.

    • Miller says:

      Yep seen this too and mentioned it in my comment above, the H1B visa and L1 has been a plague on the US labor force and one of the more idiotic, self defeating policies we’ve had, it’s one of the key tools US corporations use to pursue ageism, and the age discrimination in this case hits not only older workers with experience, but also many young people just trying to start in their careers. It’s incredibly stupid to use foreign cheap labor to displace American workers with families to take care of and debts (like student loans and medical bills) to pay. Also exploitable labor–companies love the H1B since they hold the visa, and can threaten and force exploited workers from India and the Philippines to work much longer hours at lower pay than Americans and keep their mouth shut about abuses, always dangling the carrot of “one day you’ll get a green card” (very few do, almost all return back home). Then lay off or under-pay American workers too. We stopped using H1B’s ourselves because we found they demoralized both foreign and American workers, and firms that overuse them constantly put out terrible quality work.

      • SomethingStinks says:

        It’s a bit deeper than that, looks like these guys bought their caste system over here. As I understand the dude from certain parts of India south will only hire people from that general area. A buddy of mine said he saw them eating in that hierarchy when he was at Cisco. And now that they are getting hired in higher ranks and HR and other areas there are no oversights.

        • Miller says:

          That’s true too, the H1B corruption and stinking mess becomes an even more vicious cycle when the fraction of H1B visas holders who later get into management in US companies, as you say use it to bring over their buddies and friends from the same region and perpetuate it. Eventually, actual qualifications and skills for positions get thrown out the window, and nepotism takes over. Then the company gets run into the ground and becomes insolvent.

          A lot of our business has been correcting the mistakes and blunders of these disasters at companies that overrelied on H1B’s and outsourcing of jobs to India. Usually the downward spiral in quality is caused by some dumb “executive” at a US firm who grew up in privilege and had everything up to their MBA handed to them on a silver platter, who takes the bait of a bonus for lowering costs and increasing profits in the next quarter by laying off American tech workers and hiring cheap labor from overseas, only to wreck the company longer term. Fortunately more US firms are wising up to this and firing the idiots who fall into this trap, but it still happens way too often.

          And then, the H1B’s who do stay in the US companies use it to do what you’re describing, producing a dysfunctional mess of corruption and nepotism. It’s bad enough when this happens in India itself but when this disaster is then imported to the US, it’s an economy-wrecker. The idiotic and short sighted way the H1B visa has been implemented in the USA, kicking Americans out of jobs and lowering wages with overworked and exploited global labor arbitrage, is simply criminal. It needs to be halted and banned before it causes even more damage.

  9. Wisdom Seeker says:

    This is a great article which resonates based on people I know. Unless someone has a unique, in-demand skillset, there’s tremendous fear about losing one’s job after age 50 and not being able to find a new one.

    I don’t think the BLS Employment Situation data are properly broken out by age groups. The usual grouping is “Age 20 and over”, with the implicit bias that “everyone over Age 20 should be working”. But that masks demographic effects on both the young and older ends of the age spectrum. The young are spending more time in school, and with the gradual aging-out of the Boomers there are more retirees.

    Another area of interest – the “Hassle and Cost of trying to work” doesn’t show up in the BLS data, but it’s clearly higher now than it used to be. High fuel prices impact “usable” pay. And COVID is still wreaking havoc on dual-income families with young children, at least in California. Daycare providers basically shut down for a week whenever either a provider or a child tests positive, forcing parents to juggle schedules and stay home. For families, it may simply make more sense to have one parent or grandparent stay home now, compared to pre-COVID. But you can’t tease that out of the BLS data either. (Google is probably light-years ahead of the BLS in knowing what people are doing, but they’re not sharing.)

  10. Lune says:

    Here’s another thing to add to the ageism: health insurance.

    If you’re a small business offering health insurance to your employees, your group rate will skyrocket if you add older employees or ones with chronic medical conditions. While you can’t really ferret out chronic medical conditions in an interview, you can easily see a person’s age. And knowing that it will raise your premium for all of your employees by a thousand bucks a year is a powerful disincentive to hire an older person.

    It’s one thing if you’re a Fortune 500 company and one or two hires don’t really move the needle (plus you’re probably self-insured if you’re that big). But small and medium-sized business can absolutely mess up their group health insurance costs by taking on too many old people.

    FWIW, I’m a huge supporter of Medicare-for-all, and this is one of the hidden costs no one takes into account when talking about the benefits of govt healthcare and downsides of private insurance. Imagine millions of highly trained, experienced workers locked out of your labor market because of businesses engaging in health insurance arbitrage. How much decline in national GDP, productivity, tax collections, etc. does that cause? Medicare-for-all would remove at least one obstacle for older and sick Americans to getting hired.

    • Scott says:

      I always thought they should consider rolling back the eligibility age for Medicare by 1 year every year until it reaches age 55.

      • Harrold says:

        And provide Medicare for all pregnant women.

      • Flea says:

        Hear rumors that it will run out of money by 2028

        • Harrold says:

          Ending Medicare would have seemed impossible, but with the latest law changes occurring in the South, it could definitely happen.

      • Augustus Frost says:

        The system is already effectively bankrupt now.

        No medical care system can remain solvent when someone else is paying the tab and those who aren’t directly paying have no incentives to maintain their health. A noticeable proportion of medical care expense is lifestyle related.

        • Old Ghost says:

          God forbid anyone should think of taxing the rich. The billionaire class that now owns the White House and Congress have no interest in allowing the government to tax their income or wealth. Not to educate its citizens, provide cheaper Universal Healthcare, or repair essential infrastructure.

        • Implicit says:

          The incentive of not feeling like crap is a good incentive to remain healthy. Life is more fun that way.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          And yet Denmark’s national healthcare system keeps its healthcare costs to 9% annually while the US is at 19%. And they’re a capitalist country (with national welfare). They have good healthcare with wait times no longer than the US.

          Its almost like higher taxes spread evenly among all classes aren’t a problem so long as the money is used correctly. More things that will see pigs take flight before the US achieves them.

        • Lune says:

          What are your examples of medical systems that aren’t solvent?
          Last I checked, pretty much every single first world country (and plenty non-first world’ers) has a system of health insurance — the vast majority publicly funded — and none of them are “bankrupt”. While everyone complains about costs, and certainly productivity in any industry can always improve, the costs are being paid, people are getting their health care, and no one’s economy is imploding.

          In fact, the country with the biggest risk of bankrupt systems, be it insurance companies withdrawing from the market, hospitals closing, medications being rationed, etc. is the good ole USA, and most of those problems are due to our uniquely malignant private payor system.

          Every other country among our peers has better health outcomes, for lower costs, than we do. Far from no one, it seems that basically everyone but ourselves has figured out how to run a solvent medical system where someone else is paying the tab but costs are manageable anyway.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          The only thing preventing the big private insurers from even more profit are pesky government regulations on the execution of healthcare. That’s where licensed health professionals come in–treat ’em like crap, pay them dirt, limit their ability to provide effective care and make them sit on the front line of personal and professional liability and then pay a few more of them to go back over the records to find even more reimbursement to pull back on.

          Sure, patients know the insurers are ghouls but they physically see the HCPs. The Ghouls have helped influence a patient-satisfaction centered system. The Customer Is Always Right might work at Stew Leonard’s but falls a bit short in many a medical situation, and such has a litigious culture overtaken the US healthcare system.

          The US health system is beyond broken, but as long as the Ghouls make sure politicians on both sides lie about the true cost and value of a well run first world national healthcare system, our healthcare will go to pot and HCP staffing will continue to decline. Doesn’t take new grads long to realize its a largely miserable gig and try to jump ship.

          As for ageism, old nurses were forced back from retirement during the GFC, mainly because they & their spouses lost their savings. Met a few of them on their second time walking out the door as I was finally let in. Sweeping technology changes including EMRs cleared them out again.

        • ctcarver says:

          AF,

          Rarely does anyone mention the abysmally low Medicare reimbursement rates. The reason urgent care centers are cheaper in the US is they do not accept Medicare patients. Your private insurance is subsidizing the cost for medicare patients to make the system work. If you remove those higher private payments, the public payments would need to increase to market value.

          A big secondary is the artificial scarcity of MDs. The faculties of US medical schools are all MDs and they know the value of keeping it an unnecessarily exclusive club.

          A central reason FDR didn’t include single payer healthcare in the new deal was lobbying against it from the AMA. Most family doctors are first and foremost small business people. They knew socialized medicine would result in them making less money.

        • HowNow says:

          In defense of AF, he frequently makes very insightful comments. But today’s is bass-akwards. To blame critically ill people for their obesity or lung disease and ignore the role that modern advertising has had in seducing the knuckleheads to gobble up sugar- and salt-laced sh*t – think Coca Cola (Berkshire Hath.), Micky D’s, Phillip Morris, General Mills, et al – is to blame the victims not the perps. I spent my entire work life paying for SS and Medicare without bitching and have been religious about keeping myself healthy. So, rethink your ideas, AF. You’re railing against the needle while ignoring the haystack.

        • El Katz says:

          @ctcarver:

          Our “doc in a box” (urgent care) accepts Medicare patients. One is affiliated with a hospital chain and the other is independent.

    • Roger Dodger says:

      I first learned about this aspect of hiring around 1990, when healthcare was a lot less expensive.

      My small employer was changing insures every year. Speaking to a woman in HR I learned it was because the insurance company would always jack up the rates when it came time to renew, after they learned how expensive it was to provide medical care to the employees.

      I thought it was because a number of young women had had babies. She said, no, babies are cheap, it was because we had a lot of elderly employees who had expensive medical conditions.

      As far as ageism, most HR departments pre-screen applicants so department heads never see everyone who applies, nor who is most qualified.

      If some HR reference says you need a degree in A or B, or A and B, and you are self taught on the job, you will never get beyond the HR manager.

      Wolf,

      Are there any references that indicate how many people, predominately women, in health care and education for example, who have dropped out of the labor force? They have COVID burnout or decided to stay home to raise their children.

      With all this talk of a recession, I would presume some people don’t want to go through the trouble of being hired only to be laid off shortly later.

      If you have been laid off multiple times during your career, you may eventual say enough, and live in your car.

      I also wonder if there are simply too many restaurants, as eating habits changed during COVID.

      Everywhere I go they are short staffed. If people aren’t working how can they spend money? COVID savings?

      • Lily Von Schtupp says:

        Women used to pay up to 50% higher for health insurance plans. ACA outlawed that.

    • JeffD says:

      This is easy to avoid. Hire the employee as a contractor and issue a 1099-NEC. The company can avoid a plethora of overhead costs, and many older employees prefer it since the employers have less ability to be all up in the employee’s personal business. For the life of me, I don’t understand why this isn’t the first thing offered by employers.

      • Implicit says:

        Totally agree.

      • Not Sure says:

        It would pretty much only work for older employees on Medicare that already own a home and don’t need much access to credit or employer medical benefits. It’s very hard to get a mortgage or even a car loan without full-time employment and health insurance outside of group coverage is insanely expensive, so the 1099 route isn’t all that attractive to most workers.

        • JeffD says:

          My privacy is worth the extra cost to me. As a subcontracted outside business, all the background checks, drug tests, HR training, etc. don’t apply to an independent outside company who has its own business practices. All they need is my name and SS number or EIN to pay me for work delivered.

        • Apple says:

          I think most workers happy on 1099’s have spouses with full time jobs proving health insurance. That’s how it is with my friends.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          Also Medicare is not comprehensive and mostly 80%/20% coverage. Hope you don’t need LTC, hearing aides, dentures, expensive Rx’s, etc.

        • El Katz says:

          Medicare Part B (medical), Part D (drugs), and a Medicare supplemental policy costs me and my wife about $800 a month if we don’t use it. If we use it, there’s more loopholes in what gets paid for and what doesn’t and it’s easy to fall into a $200 mistake by asking one more question during an appointment (go for a check for prescription and ask about your sore back…. I paid $180 for that transgression). And then there’s the “coding mistakes” that I usually just pay for because trying to deal with the CDC robots is usually futile.

          As far as drugs go, my wife has some very expensive Rx’s. She is currently in the “donut hole” where coverage is reduced. One of the RX’s is $700+ for 90 days. Another is $1,500+ for 90 days. My cost.

          No dental. No eye care.

          Another trick they use in the hospitalization coverage (Part A) is if you are kept overnight for “observation”. Don’t do it. That’s on 100% on you as Medicare only pays if you are admitted. A friend of ours learned that the hard way.

          Medicare isn’t any less expensive than regular health insurance.

          The true fix it to overhault the entire health industry. It’s more “sick care” than health care.

        • Anthony A. says:

          My wife and I have been on Medicare for 14 years now. We know all the “bad spots” and “slimy” practices (observation my ass, I will carry her out before that happens).

          And, yes, it’s just as costly as regular insurance, unless, of course, if you don’t get sick.

        • Lily Von Schtupp says:

          Having audited Observation status, hospital staff can be poorly educated to what it entails. Among the nitpicks, there is supposed to be regular reassessment during Obv time and documentation to reflect its continued necessity vs discharge or admission to inpatient status, time carve-outs for off-floor testing, etc. Too often, providers checked in on their regular rounds, nurses did their med rounds and q shift vitals, and that was it.

          Obv status ideally serves a purpose. No point admitting someone you’re not sure is that ill and needs more testing, just to have them go home after one midnight; and if the patient doesn’t meet admission criteria but gets admitted anyway, and is stable to discharge after the first midnight, UR has a conniption fit and then it gets into Condition Code 44 territory. But the documentation of Obvs has often been shite in my experience. And a doctor’s crystal ball works about as good as anyone else’s, sometimes a patient’s presentation, severity and prognosis is unclear. In my humble opinion the Two Midnight Rule needs to go, as does the 72 hour rule for STR coverage. CMS and OIG are keeping an eye on Observation use and acute facilities are improving on its execution, but Obv status is a good example of the awkward nature of trying to contain costs and regulate grey areas.

          Best I can advise, if you get put on Obv status then discharged home, ask for an itemized bill and an audit of the record/charges. Make sure they gave you the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON), because if they didn’t, you have a good fight (refusing to sign it doesn’t count–they can just document the refusal. But they can’t spring an Observation status on you after the discharge either). No guarantees but it can’t hurt, might help.

      • Lune says:

        Won’t work. You run the risk of the IRS nailing you if you have long-term 1099 contractors. If they audit your company and find that most of those 1099 contractors were actually hourly or fulltime employees, you’ll be responsible for all their payroll backtaxes, plus penalties, etc.

        All it takes is a complaint by one of your contractors to the local labor board about improper misclassification.

        • El Katz says:

          Our company did this for years. We used an employment agency to handle the taxes and stuff. That way they could brag that they never had a layoff…. just shunt off some person who spent 9 years working there as a contract worker and show them the door. All done with one phone call. No lawsuits. No unemployment compensation (they weren’t fired…. they were no longer needed and sent back to the agency for placement).

      • Candyman says:

        It’s illegal. Mass. Will not let you hire 1099…you must be classified as an employee. Also…everyone talking about medicare….you need supplemental insurance! That is much more costly. Nothing is free folks, but it’s seems many here have no problem taking (taxing) someone else to cover yourself…..it’s ok as long as you don’t pay!

    • Enlightened Libertarian says:

      It sounds great in theory but when has government NOT screwed up a good idea?
      SS and Medicare have worked great for the first recipients but not so well fir the next generations.
      BTW I have been predicting for decades that the Feds will bugger the CPI to reduce SS. Just read an article that they want to drop the CPI and go to CPI-E [for Elderly] which will cut their CPI by 20%. Don’t ever ever trust government.

      • Apple says:

        All the folks I know on Medicare love it and do not want it to go away.

      • Lune says:

        I could say the same thing about private industry. All it takes is a little confirmation bias to “prove” either point…

        Things that work tend to disappear into the background. Things that don’t work tend to stick out like a sore thumb.

        Social Security has worked wonders for 80 years in massively reducing poverty among the elderly and allowing them a dignified retirement. And even the most dire warnings say it will be solvent for decades more (and even that’s probably overly gloomy). Tell me what private industry or company has had that type of longevity?

        In the health care realm, surveys consistently find that Medicare enrollees are much more satisfied with their insurance than people with private insurance. And it’s borne out in practice: Medicare is not mandatory. If it was really so screwed up and the private market was so great, anyone is welcome to not pay the Medicare premium and get their insurance in the private market.

        How many 80 years old do you know that eschew Medicare and buy private insurance? I guess the market has spoken and Medicare has won. Or do you only listen to the market when it tells you what you want to hear?

        • El Katz says:

          Probably because an 80 year old could not get private insurance at any price.

          Here’s an example: If you go from regular Medicare to a Medicare Advantage program you can. Then, during the next open enrollment, you decided to go back to regular Medicare. If you want to purchase/replace a Medicare Supplement policy, you have to go through a health screening process where you can be declined. I have no data, but it’s probably a safe bet that screening eliminates a lot of people from getting the supplemental policies with the better coverage (like a Plan F or N) with the better insurance companies with on shore customer service.

          We’re happy with Medicare… but it’s not as cheap as people think it is (Part A is “free” with a 20% deductible – the rest is not). Part B starts at $170 per person and is income bracketed (can go higher). Our supplement is $160 each. Part D for my wife is $111 and mine is $13. And that’s without co-pays for drugs (our supplemental insurance pays the deductible on the Plan A and B – but only if Medicare approves the claim).

          I’ve never lived anywhere else, but I would hazard to guess that Medicare doesn’t hold a candle to other countries scheme.

          A bit of advice to the youngsters: Start funding a HSA/FSA now for your retirement. We did and it’s a lifesaver.

        • Enlightened Libertarian says:

          I would dump Medicare in a heartbeat if I could. The Feds not only take back 100% of my SS but force me to pay another $500 a month back into both [at 67 and retired] for SS/Medicare. My Healthcare provider said they would cancel my coverage if I dropped SS/Medicare.
          This is after paying into Civil Service/Medicare for 25 years and into SS/Medicare gor another 10 years, plus being self employed for 30 years [technically still working managing my real estate properties]. Plus all the property taxes, sales taxes, etc. I paid.
          I would not say either has worked for me, just paying in a lot more than will ever I take out. I concede it has worked great for a lot of people who have taken out much more than they paid.in. it will be interesting to see how much longer that lasts.

      • HowNow says:

        What’s not to be trusted is Libertarianism. Basically a self-serving ethos that takes succor from the sacrifice of others while trying to brainwash empathetic people of their need for greater “liberty”.

    • Miller says:

      True too, and this is another one of the areas where US social policies not only raise moral questions, they also put companies in the USA at a competitive disadvantage to competitors in Europe and Asia, where they have universal healthcare. It’s not just a moral thing there, companies love it because it removes the burden of having to supply health insurance themselves, and cuts down on their overhead. And it doesn’t, contrary to the usual myth, add to taxes. A lot of us have worked overseas, and in fact US taxes are not lower than Europe–they’re just split up into more pieces, so total American taxes are the same or even higher than most of Europe, but our taxes in the US don’t provide social benefits, and are used instead to fight wars or, ironically, pay health care costs (a lot higher than other countries). US small businesses esp have it tough like you say.

      • Whatsthepoint says:

        This….I retired to a “socialist ” country precisely for some of those reasons….I couldn’t afford Medicare part B plus all the add ons even if I stayed healthy. Until the “I got mine, Jack, screw you” mentality is beaten out of American heads, nothing will improve.

      • Valerie says:

        Agreed. I lived in Germany for 8 years and now live in Australia. Excellent health care all around. Cost of living somewhat higher but with minimal health care costs in the budget, don’t feel any financial pain.

  11. Martin Sereno says:

    Could this have something to do with the recent 40% increase in working age deaths reported by several large insurance companies?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think this may be a misrepresentation — or at least an over-expansion — of what this guy said. He, the CEO of a not-large life insurance company, said back in Jan, 2022:

      “Davison said death rates among working age people – those 18 to 64-years-old – are up 40 percent in the third and fourth quarter of 2021 over pre-pandemic levels. He said the data shows COVID deaths are greatly understated among working age Americans.

      So his statement was limited to Q3 and Q4 2021.

      In addition, I have not yet seen major life insurers confirm that 40%.

      But we have seen that the actuarial life expectancy was reduced by quite a bit because of the excess mortality during covid.

      • Implicit says:

        It would be interesting to see reliable data regarding the % of those that died during that time that were vaxed vs unvaxed. Life insurance data probably more reliable that Pharma and hospital.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          There is some data on this. For example, in California (from covid19.ca.gov):

          In Feb 2022, unvaccinated people were 14 times more likely to die from covid than vaccinated and boosted people. The 7-day average of 14.4 per million v. 1.1 per million.

          The effectiveness of the vaccines against the new variants has dropped but is still pretty good.

          In mid June: unvacccinated people were 7.2 times more likely to die from covid than vaccinated and boosted people. The 7-day average of 2.4 per million v. 0.3 per million.

          Overall, the death rates have dropped by a huge amount.

        • Earl says:

          Ageism sounds alot like racism. Older people learning firsthand how that feels. Maybe there’s a lesson in that realization.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      There are other studies showing substantial COVID-driven mortality changes among working-age Americans. The CDC has put out mortality studies for 2020 and 2021 which confirm this.

      There’s another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found about a 30% increase in mortality among Texans Age 25-44 in Q4 of 2020 vs pre-COVID. Half of the increase was COVID but half wasn’t.

      There are annual CDC mortality studies. The new one is “Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2021”, which showed a 10% increase in all deaths age 15-24 and 25-34 from 2020 to 2021 (even during COVID!), 20% for those 35-44, 12% for those 45-54.

      Meanwhile, an earlier study “Mortality in the United States, 2020” gave comparisons with 2020 vs. pre-covid data (2019) and showed that in 2020 death rates were up 20-25% for ages 25-34 and 35-44, and up 20% for 45-54, and 17% for 55-64.

      Summary: In 2020, working-age mortality rates were roughly 20% higher than in 2019. Then in 2021 they were another 10-20% higher than even in 2020. That means working age mortality IS 30-40% higher than it was pre-COVID. But mortality rates still are much higher for those over 65 than for those under. And regardless of your age, this is a really good time to pay extra attention to maintaining your health!

      See Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Anderson RN. Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:597-600. DOI: (http colon slash slash…) dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7117e1

      See also Mortality in the United States, 2020 by Sherry L. Murphy, B.S., Kenneth D. Kochanek, M.A., Jiaquan Xu, M.D., and Elizabeth Arias, Ph.D. available at (http colon slash slash) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db427.pdf

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Following up a bit further: the excess mortality seen in ages 25-64 for 2021 and 2020 (vs. 2019) amounts to around 200,000 “more” people “leaving the workforce” than one would expect. That’s not enough to explain the overall workforce decline.

      What these data don’t include are the additional adults being pulled out of the workforce to care for relatives impacted by COVID. (e.g. relatives with long-term health impairment, orphaned children, etc.)

      The data are also showing increasing problems with drugs and alcohol – “chronic liver disease and cirrhosis” is now a top-10 killer – and those tend to take people out of the workforce too.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        There’s also a data series from the BLS (in the FRED database its tag is “LNU00074597”) which shows disabled population in US approaching 33 million, up 2 million from early 2020, or up 7 millions from 2010. This is from the Household Survey in the employment situation report.

        Oddly enough the “disabled” status seems to be somewhat flexible: it seems people tend to become “less disabled” during recessions, though: there was a 2M drop in “disabled” from 2008-2010, and another 2M drop during the early 2020 COVID shutdowns (but before most of the deaths had happened).

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Given newer comments above, it’s also possible that the “chronic liver disease” isn’t just about drugs/alcohol, it might also be a long-COVID side-effect, or a vaccination side-effect, or both.

  12. Walter H says:

    Boy, has it ever been tough on us old dogs. I’ve been trying to go from Oil & Gas to Tech for the past year. I have had success getting interviews with Big Tech but no offers.

    • Flea says:

      Retired at 60 ,then worked seasonal jobs really wasn’t hard at all at 64 got tired and retired

    • phoenix says:

      Aiming for Big Tech is your problem… There are plenty of smaller organizations looking for tech employees

  13. Halibut says:

    When you’re 60ish and you have a parent in their mid-eighties, that can pull you out of the workforce too. Sometimes, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Save while you can, kids.

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      Standard or Roth IRA/401k?

      • El Katz says:

        Roth. The RMD’s can negatively impact your Medicare costs if your balance in a non-Roth is substantial. The income brackets hit both Part B and Part D premiums.

        Plan now…. it’s not something people think about but, if you’re striving to build a substantial retirement fund, it may be in your best interest to factor in things you may not otherwise consider. I didn’t… but our HSA saved our bacon.

  14. I think some smarter managers have noticed they can get extremely competent experienced people cheaply.

    And some of those hires will not be quitting any time soon due financial circumstances.

    Good deal for smart thrifty budget constrained managers.

    Confluence of ageism and economy.

  15. Jackson Y says:

    Job market is still excellent. Yet, no matter the strength of incoming data, the Wall Street-backed financial media will return to recession fearmongering within a few days.

    Not because of altruism or concern about everyday Americans, but to pressure policymakers to stop tightening. CNBC talking heads wrote off inflation as transitory for all of 2021, then as soon as the Federal Reserve implemented its first 0.25% baby rate increase in March, it’s been nonstop doom & gloom.

    We’ll likely get another strong CPI report next week. Cleveland is projecting 8.7% headline CPI, which if realized would be a new cycle high. Oil is back above $100. Then the Federal Reserve meets, raise rates again, and analysts resume their doom & gloom about how 2% federal funds rates will start another Great Depression.

    • JeffD says:

      Hey, they need to issue the cheapest debt possible to make those stock buybacks pencil out! Their wealth is more important than the price of your food.

  16. Jay says:

    Being 52 and interviewing I find most people who are in the age range 25-35 are very arrogant and have a hard time with basic communication skills. Throw in hatred from everyone for being a white male and you are doomed. I spend most of my time now as a consultant having to dig departments out of months or years of backlogs due to poor staffing. It is always the same, They have staff that don’t work and no action is taken, staff that are hired based on race or gender and you can’t fire them. I dug an insurance company derivative department out of a hole three times due to staff not doing any work. They never fixed the problem and continued to beg me to come back and dig them out.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Way to generalize, can go both ways too. As a hiring manager myself I can say I find boomers stubborn and refuse to adapt to the time. In fact the ones closer to retirement age would just want to coast long enough until retirement. I know since at my last company I was trained by someone like that to replace his position.

      Then again I don’t look at it that way, boomers, Xers, Millennials, doesn’t matter. What matter is they bring the right attitude and propensity to learn and grow.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        When I was a young whipper-snapper – this was in the late 1980s – I fired a few of the 60+ guys we had. I still feel bad about it today. But I still don’t see another option.

        At the time, the company was computerizing its entire operations. We’d had computers for years, but they were separate systems, and some parts of the company were not computerized at all, so you still had a lot of paper work and data entry to do, and a lot of duplication, and stacks of documents and cards, and you couldn’t look up stuff with a few clicks on a keyboard, etc.

        So we switched to a networked computer system with a central server. The system covered every part of the company, and everyone with a desk got a terminal, and had to use it. And we made other changes to make the operation more efficient. And most older people jumped right on it and learned the stuff in no time and got good at it.

        But a few of the older people refused to – managers! – and they rebelled against it, and they kept wasting their time doing stuff that the computer was doing automatically, and they refused to buy into the vision of making the operation more efficient, etc., and it was a mess. After way too months, I lost my patience, and I cleaned house.

        This was a sad thing to do. But I also learned at the time that you absolutely have to keep up and stay ahead when you get older, and be smart, and learn new stuff, or you’re done. That was one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned. You can never just rest on your laurels from decades ago.

        You may be done anyway due to ageism, no matter what you do, but you’re certainly done if you don’t keep up and if you don’t stay ahead.

        Now I have my own shop – this site – and it’s fairly big now and it’s growing, and I can never let up and slack off, I constantly have to learn new stuff, and I constantly have to try to understand things that are way above my paygrade. That’s probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my job here at the Wolf Street media mogul empire headquarters. And I’m ecstatic that I don’t have to fight ageism every day.

        • Steve2wryt says:

          Totally agree with what you’re saying Wolf.

          I was a contractor in California, 17 years plus 10 years as a carpenter. I realized my body couldn’t handle it forever, so I started taking computer networking classes at a community college. I had the advantage of also having a degree in geology that unfortunately I wasn’t able to use… Long story… Anyhow I ran into the ageism situation trying to get on with internet security companies and the like, mostly small places that were catering to doing security and networking to local community. Ended up working for the city, I leveraged both my computer skills and my knowledge of the building industry to get a job at the building department. I’m working my way up there now, 62 and will hopefully get a job as a plans examiner here fairly soon. Most of what I understand is that you have to leverage what you know, learn what you need to know, and then add it all together and find somewhere that you fit. There are young folks who are doing coding that can run rings around me, but I have the experience to be able to look some contractor across the counter and tell them they’re full of BS and no, you have to give me a set of plans that actually shows what you’re going to do.

          I totally understand folks who are able to step back and say, I’m good with not having to learn all the new stuff in order to survive, but if you can’t do that then you have to learn the stuff. You have to look, you have to dig, you have to beat the pavement. When I was a contractor every time I finished a job guess what, I was unemployed. If I hadn’t done my own homework and got another job lined up to have ready to go that was my own fault. You have to build a reputation, you have to have a client base, you have to have good relations with subcontractors, suppliers, and clients. That kind of attitude is going to work no matter what industry you’re in, and even against agism you can make it happen, it just takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.

          Furthermore there’s probably five or six different types of things I could do if I really put my mind to it if I lost the job where I’m at now. I don’t have much patience for people who whine and moan about oh I don’t have a job. Get off your butt, do something, learn a skill fill a need, there’s a ton of things you can do independently, I mean give me a break, be an Uber driver or whatever.

        • curiouscat says:

          In the 1980s I was hiring physicians. The common “knowledge” was electronic medical records would never catch on because doctors refuse to type. Well, that was true of older docs but those fresh out of med school wanted computer systems because the were trained in them.

        • Phoenix_Ikki says:

          Couldn’t agree more. This is not just limited to old timers or boomers. I still talk to some old co-workers of mine from more than a decade ago, most of them younger Xers, basically just let complacency set in, complain about the job everyday, bored out of their mind, yet same title as I left them more than a decade. Operate on the comfortably numb model, don’t know how but so far they have been lucky and didn’t get let go in 08 downturn but since they refuse to learn, grow and adapt, I am not sure if their luck will run out soon enough next time.

          I fear that, for most of them, even basic interview will be a challenge for them since the last interviews for most of them was like 15+ yrs ago…

        • Franz Beckenbauer says:

          The big problem -my experience – with people aged 22-30 today is smartphones. They have the attention span of a WhatsApp message or an Instagram post, in meetings the first thing they do is put their phone where they can see it, and then it’s game over since every five seconds you will see their eyes switch to their phone just to check whether one of their three hundred social media buddies on the planet decided to say hello. They are permanently stressed and hysterically dopamin-addicted since they feel they have to be “always online” and completely incapable of any complex train of thought that exceeds the dimension of their telephone screen and what you can type in five seconds on your touch-keyboard ( which they do at an amazing Speed). There are studies what these things do to your neuro system, long story short:it’s a desaster. Working with these people is completely impossible.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      “They never fixed the problem and continued to beg me to come back and dig them out.”

      That sounds like a good gig for you!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Jay,

      I know that you’re not one of the other Jays here. But readers don’t know that. And this gets very confusing. Could you add something to your name, such as a number, as in Jay1, or Jay01, or similar. This would clear up a lot of confusion. Thanks.

    • Biker Chique 01 says:

      You have no grounds to complain. Consider yourself fortunate that you can get hired repeatedly to bail out the overconfident, entitled, diverse, youthful workforce unable to perform the tasks for which they were hired and being overpaid paid generously.

  17. Pete in Toronto says:

    The ”Big 5” Canadian banks seem to all provide raises to their lowest-level employees.

    As an example, The Bank of Nova Scotia (known as “Scotiabank”) implemented a 3% raise to all Canadian employees lower than assistant managers, representing about half of the workforce in Canada. (The raise was not targeted employee-by-employee or performance based, but implemented automatically starting with a June payroll, with only a few weeks’ notice.)

    When these banks behave the same way, it’s hard to know whether they are unoriginal—just crib from each other—or if the order came down from the federal government that regulates them through agencies and legislation (chiefly the Bank Act).

    • Pete in Toronto says:

      I should add that in all the years I have followed these banks as investments (since 1996), I have never heard of them doing something like this. So the competition to retain and hire staff at these job levels must be fierce.

      And we have not had today’s ferocious consumer-price inflation since the 1970s!

      • SoCalBeachDude says:

        Most banks are FIRING PEOPLE and eliminating entire departments including JPMC and Wells Fargo.

      • Old Ghost says:

        Side comment on Canadian Banks here on the state side.

        Because of WFH, this burg has empty office buildings everywhere now. So RBC/Fincantierri Wealth Management builds a fancy new 6 story building (on a marina no less).

        But things are looking up for them. Instead of having 5 of 6 empty floors, now only 4 are “see through”. Not sure I would want them managing my money.

        Plenty of old retail stores being torn down.. But restaurants and coffee shops seem to be sprouting to replace them.

  18. Alex says:

    Actually Wolf, this seems to show that it’s the young people who are falling out of the labor market the most, with 20-24 year olds having the largest decline (-2.1%) from 2010-2020. I have a feeling we are going to see older people RE-join the labor force due to diminishing retirement savings. I also believe that participation rate is dropping due to difficulty in holding 2 jobs and raising children. Trying to do so myself and it’s becoming nearly impossible with the cost of child care (not to mentioned college) in a place like CA. Pricing out 98% of the peopl.
    https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/civilian-labor-force-participation-rate.htm

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Alex,

      Nope, wrong years. What you linked is based on data for 2000, 2010, and 2020. There is NO DATA in there about 2021 or 2022, which is what we’re talking about today, namely the labor force in 2021 and 2022, and how it changed from before the pandemic.

      Your link also has some projections about what it might look like in 2030, which is irrelevant here.

      You gotta go back to the drawing board.

      • curiouscat says:

        Sorry if this has already been covered. No time to read all comments. There is also an age effect on young married women because of the cost of child care. Many would rather just stay home and care for their child(ren) rather than work and spend entire check on child care. Last year my daughter’s monthly child care expense was greater than their mortgage. (And they have a pretty nice house bought about 10 years ago.)

      • Alex says:

        Didn’t expect you to be so dismissive of the data. Maybe ’21/’22 has reversed the trend but that doesn’t change 10 years + worth of data that I mentioned AND cited! Where is your ’21/’22 data? A long way to catch up to make up for a decade of trends the other way from what you cited.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          You cited data that doesn’t apply to the issue I discussed: the labor force that refuses to recover in 2022 (not 2020 or 2010) and what role ageism plays in 2022 with this labor force issue in 2022.

          The data you cited may be interesting data for some other study for historical reasons or whatever, but it’s for the wrong time period for this article and is irrelevant because it covers prior years when this issue that I discussed didn’t even exist.

    • The Real Tony says:

      With rising interest rate more older workers will be quitting because of all the extra money because of higher interest rates. More older workers will quit not rejoin the workforce.

      • Forme says:

        If you really think that people will be quitting the workforce because the interest rate went from about nothing to at little over 3% at a time when inflation is around 8%, well……………..

      • El Katz says:

        RT:

        Unless they’re making minimum wage, part time, that’s unlikely. A 3% CD would pay @$7,500 a year (pre-tax) on $250K and most brokered CD’s (where you’ll find those rates) do not pay monthly, but at either semi-annually or at maturity. I wonder how many geezers have that kind of cake laying around and can wait 6-12-24 months for their payout? When you see the statistics on “amount saved for retirement” by age, probably not as many as one might think.

        My wife came back from her “yak yak club” and was telling me about the people who were bemoaning the carnage in their portfolios. I wonder how many “full golf memberships” will be dropped if the markets keeps going south.

  19. Jack Webb says:

    The U-6 rate is 6.7% for June. The last period where it was close to this low was right before covid, when it hit 6.9%. At that point, there were no reports of companies begging for workers. What happenened? This chart shows it.

    https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-labor-force-participation-rate.htm

    Only about half of the decline in labor force participation has been made up. Is it baby boomer retirements? I don’t think so. I think it’s because people banked the stim checks and otherwise cut spending, and are now depleting savings and going into debt, as the credit card numbers show.

    The point is this: The labor market has not returned to normal. Today’s low numbers are still influenced by covid. Just in time for the recession to reduce job openings, we’ll see more people re-entering the labor force. These “great” unemployment numbers are going to look “scary” in fairly short order.

  20. dishonest says:

    Ageism is one of the few acceptable prejudices left.
    Folks whose hearts bleed for ethnic, sexual, or other oppressed minorities are willing to dismiss, with a broad wink, discrimination against old fogies.

    • phoenix says:

      Heightism too

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      Totally agree.

      To be honest, I can say that when I was about 27 years old, I was a bit “Ageist” myself. I would take night classes in C language programming, micro-processors, circuit simulation etc. Most of the other students were men in their 40s. They didn’t seem to be as sharp or quick as I thought I was. I was single, no family obligations, parents were healthy, and life was great.

      Many years later I was married and that wasn’t going so well, my mom had Alzheimer’s and that was a huge strain, I had all kinds of job stresses. At that point I realized how unfair my opinions were of the 40 year old’s in night school.

      Now I’m 59 and think, God what a dick I was! On a positive note though, I never disrespected any of them, but my inner thoughts were ageist for sure.

      • Marko says:

        Great perspective. Thank you for sharing. I’m in my late 30’s and starting to realize how impressive my gray hair night school classmates of last decade were.

  21. Glen says:

    Older people with a prior work history also want to get paid what they had previously been paid which should be rephrased as …

    There is no shortage of engineers, only cheap engineers.
    There is no shortage of IT workers, only cheap IT workers.

    Etc…

    • El Katz says:

      Oats are always cheaper after they’ve been through the horse.

    • Miller says:

      Yeah so true. The cries and whining from Big Tech about how “it’s so awful, poor us with all these labor shortages of skilled workers” were always BS. The USA has never had a true labor shortage for high skilled positions. Only a shortage of people willing to take those jobs for inadequate salaries, esp given their student loans and the hard work they had to put in to build their skills. The H1B visas and similar cheap labor scams to bring in low-paid immigrants should be banned, and business executives who take advantage of them should be imprisoned. These policies are a terrible scourge against both older American workers who want to re-join the labor force, and younger workers trying to earn and provide for a family. There might have been a bit of a reprieve due to unfilled spots amid the pandemic, but with jobs likely getting tighter, it’s inexcusable to bring in foreign workers at reduced wages to displace Americans. Criminal, even.

      • Miller says:

        In fact I’d add in Europe, corrupt business executives CAN AND DO get prosecuted and thrown into prison if they bring in foreign workers as cheap labor, at reduced salaries used to lay off native European workers. In EU countries, this practice is considered toxic and corrosive to social cohesion and national unity. The funniest part is that in theory, the laws around the H1B visa in the US are designed to do something similar, force employers to publicly advertise and post a position for a period and then proceed to H1B only when they genuinely can’t hire an American. But many US tech companies use all kinds of scams to get around that, ex. demanding impossible skill combinations or making sure the job ad is hidden even if it’s in theory public. It’s totally corrupt and should be prosecuted here, too. Some periods have been so bad that some of my old American associates have moved to Europe when the H1B was abused (and ironically, because of the strict laws there, they have to be paid the same or better than the locals).

  22. DR DOOM says:

    I have my own engineering / mfg company. I installed an ultra sonic open channel flow meter on a low flow application in May of 2019. These can be tricky for a multitude of reasons. I was more than twice the age of the facilities engineer that spec’d out and procured the flow meter and wanted me to install it ONLY! He was a boomer hating asshole. Long story short is he needed the equivalent of 10bits of resolution and only had 6 due to the meter he spec’d out and bought. Did not want me to evaluate it for his application. Not my job to educate him and I installed what he bought. He paid me for installing his failure and I built the custom meter he needed which was 3 times the cost of his spec and his company had to pay me for an extra day and up front for the hardware. I got a bang at watching this dick head’s app keep rejecting his input setup trying to configure out of limit inputs while the Ultrasonic X-ducer was getting transitory “pipe ringing” noise. It took him a week to finally get hold of someone of “competent authority” to tell him what I could of told him before this boomer hating dick head got the wrong meter. His company had to pay me for an extra trip to properly spec out the install. This guy just assumed my 40+ years of experience was not useful. His company paid dearly and I let his boss a boomer owner know it. Sweet.

    • JeffD says:

      This is exactly the attitude from the current crop of young people that I described in a post a few days ago. No interest in communication and negotiation to get the job done. Just a “they know better” attitude rather than talking through the facts on the ground for the problem at hand to get the job done in one go.

  23. Ben Sargent says:

    Ageism for me 100%
    64 years old oilfield engineer.
    I won’t work for minimum wage body does not handle that work well.
    Can’t find work since 2017 when oil crash hit. With oil prices back and rig count up there are hundreds of younger engineers to take the positions available.
    Each engineering and geology open position gets 100 resumes submitted.
    So I’m retired and at 64 that won’t change.
    I know of several others just like me.
    I would think that less working people would start to be a drain on economy as well but so far I don’t see evidence of that reduction in work force.

  24. Ben Sargent says:

    Dr Doom fortunately you have a moat around your age since you own your own business!

  25. Michael Engel says:

    When the boomers are gone there are not enough zoomers to
    replace them.
    Higher wages, higher benefits, higher whatever to unproductive
    useless workers will cut net income, because we are entitled to get benefits from gov and businesses for free, doing nothing…

    • phoenix says:

      Nice! Sound good

    • The Real Tony says:

      When the last of the last of the boomers are retired productivity will go right down the drain for all these companies. When everyone does a bad job you can’t fire everyone.

    • HowNow says:

      ME, I’m old. But I remember that when working in companies with older guys, too often they didn’t do sh*t. If they had an older boss, he’d let them slide while the younger cohort worked hard, trying to earn their stripes. It goes both ways. I see younger people working hard around here, trying to earn their keep.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Fair enough HN, and been there and done that very similar:::
        How some ever, as a late teen person, I was put with a couple of 75 year olds who not only took a TON of time to at least TRY to keep me alive digging ditches in SW FL all day with NO shade, etc.
        But, usually, did at least twice the ”net” work I did….
        For most on here who have never done a ”day’s work in
        the field’ ” EVER,,, please keep in mind the very likely possibility that old and older folks can and DO A TON.

      • Derek says:

        I work for the man, why would I work hard? I get paid the same regardless. I’m giving myself a raise this year by working even less than before. They don’t have a choice, they’ll take it. The companies need the labor, not the other way around. I’m not going into business for myself cause I’m too lazy and want to enjoy life before I am too old.

  26. Pudding&pain says:

    Worked in tech senior mgt for several years including board level committees on compensation, insurance and risk. Basically, over 50 and you were done, regardless of level of contribution.

  27. Ben Sargent says:

    Auto industry layoffs did increase this latest month if my source was correct though numbers still small. I think in the 10,000 lay-off range.
    Supply chain and SUV and Truck inventory weighing on markets.

    • Michael Engel says:

      If/ when oil drop to the mid 70’s the chip shortages will be unexpectedly over. Silverado and F-150 will start moving in Manheim. Ford parking lots loaded with F-150 waiting for chips will gradually shrink with incentives.
      Meanwhile EV will enter the market in larger quantities.
      Oil have to drop lower in order to move vans and F-150, but not too low
      to hurt EV sales.

  28. THEWILLMAN says:

    If we’re being ageist anyway:

    20’s – show up to work hungover, clueless about professionalism, entitled.
    30’s – months off at a time for birth of kids + sick children + childcare.
    40’s – mostly established. Kids could mostly fend for themselves. Takes work seriously.
    50’s – Kids leaving the house – looking for a swan song project to take on to end their career with.
    60’s – “this is my last chance to do x in my career”

    If you’re a tech company with an average tenure of 3 years…you want to hire only in the first two groups?!

    • The Real Tony says:

      More immigration or more migrant workers coming to America can only make things worse. The productivity rate in Canada went from one of the highest in the world to one of the lowest when the Liberals got into power.

      • Miller says:

        Yeah it’s farcically stupid to argue, as some parts of at least the US media do, that “immigration solves these things” when it only makes them worse. Especially for high skilled and high wage jobs in tech, mass immigration knocks down wages (and job openings) while at the same time putting upwards pressure on housing prices, and worsening strains from things like traffic, pollution and infrastructure. Another reason the H1B visa corruption has been one of the dumbest, most anti-American policies of the past 3 decades. In enriches a few clueless tech execs and makes almost everyone and everything else in the US much worse. It’s understandable to have lower, controlled immigration, particularly for lower skilled positions in areas like agriculture (where they genuinely do have trouble finding the workers for such labor intensive positions that can’t really be automated away) and outside of work related visas, as with refugees, DV lottery and family reunification. But that’s why it’s all the more important to regulate and curtail other categories, of which the H1B is the worst, closely followed by all the corrupt ways colleges and universities try to go past visa caps to hire cheap labor. These should be banned outright.

        • HowNow says:

          You may remember the “Bracero Program” back in the day when temp workers (agri.) were bussed into CA for harvests, then bussed back to Mex. initially to replace farm workers who went off to war (1942+) Lasted for 22 years. Farm owners had some requirements for the financial, living conditions, and treatment of the workers, and, because there was some documentation and accountability, farmers skirted the sysem and hired illegals. They lured millions of illegals into the U S. 10X the numbers in the Bracero Program. And it wasn’t limited to crop harvesting: canning, livestock, home building, etc. So… blame the immigrants??

  29. Steve says:

    Thank you for bringing up the more reliable Household survey data. That shows the beginning better of the true unfolding story of the economy. It suggests fewer people working, but more people working more than one job.(see Z.H.) The pandemic response was a wipe out of the economy and forced many to retire or just give up. Bust of 14 years of cheap money, greed and misallocation. But here’s the Fed pumping mega trillions bringing back the economy through “fake” jobs as I call them… Why? Because no one wants them for one. They’re lazy now and don’t pay enough for a life in this extreme inflation. So every inventor in S. F. and all over thinks I’m a disruptor to a new paradigm of working zoom out of home and new online everything commerce creating such silly jobs like stichfix and endless losing zombie ideas with retirement dreams like Bitcoin and the housing ponzi. It’s all fake because it’s all built on subsidized Fed printed money and unsustainable dreams. Zombies waiting for the string master venture capitalists to finally cut their losses. Fake because the whole mess was founded on fake money subsidation creating silly business models sponsored by greedy venture firms with cheap money to lose. Fake because when the punch bowl goes, the cheap money goes, the easy credit goes, then those bad businesses go with it. An economy needs a foundation of wealth for all, prosperity, savings, future hope(entrepreneurship)We have none of that anymore because of wealth transfer called inflation, bad Governance and corrupt Wall St too. What we have is the last fake segment of the fake economy, housing, holding everything else up right now. And it is so big and fake, housing blowing will reveal just how few real jobs there are anymore. If they can print to infinity and we live in hyperinflation, carry on. But if they blow housing and they will, we will see what are the real jobs and fake jobs. This country has had 50 years of uninterrupted fed made debt expansion theory and the dollar survives, for now only because other currencies are failing faster. But make no mistake, the Fed has finally crossed the Rubicon with their helicopter money at this stage of currency debasement and no engineering, propaganda, lies, fake jobs reports, or anything can keep the math back from equilibrium. Around 70% are at desperate financial straights right now in crippling inflation. The 30% swimming in flipping/zombie money will be widdling down as the housing ponzi implodes. The proper defining of unsustainable and it’s ramifications was key, but with moral decline the greedy get sucked in . There was a few booms before with many jobs. Gold rush, internet star flyers, tulips. So many jobs with prosperity. All fake. But this time, the artificial aspect is found reaching to outer space where no man has gone before. A new earth please Mr. Shatner, this one is used up. Take your cbdc and sit down. And five extra jabs for speaking out of turn.

  30. David says:

    Voluntarily retired this March at the age of 60. C19 changed everything. Would rather spend my time with family than work when SHTF can happen anytime. Funny thing was I worked in a covid infested casino and never got C19. 16 days after I retired I felt sick, tested positive and had a bad 24 hours. No long Covid but it did take almost 2 months to feel close to 100% again.

  31. Bobber says:

    The best way to deal with ageism is to avoid it altogether. Save a ton in your 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s. Don’t marry a big spender. Retire early and do what YOU want.

    • Heron says:

      Yep, saw this coming 20+ years ago when Bill Gates was pushing congress hard to let in H1Bs. Worked frantically to change the arc of my life and career so I was insulated from the effect of that, as well as saved a ton. Still work part time here and there, pay my own health insurance because I want more choice and to make me more attractive to my employer which happens to be a friend I’ve worked with in the past for years. Many others in the company I worked with in the past at a fortune 500 company and are very good at what they do. Mostly boomers/Xers with a couple millennials and 1 gen z (another gen z got let go earlier this year)

      Never will work at a big corp again. If you dont have a connection in the company to make sure your resume gets in the right persons hand, forget about getting through HR. They filter on age, race and gender. Last big corp I worked for I had to call in a favor to get my resume past HR after hearing nothing for weeks – got a face to face meeting and hired in a week. HR just wanted to hire “check boxes” as I called them and the company suffered mightily from the dead weight but didnt care because they were a contractor to uncle sam and charged them an arm and a leg so we’re all paying for the incompetence.

      If you think things are bad now, what I see on the horizon is much worse. There are some really good young people, but the number of bad diversity hires is huge and both the costs and nonsense taught in college means we’re killing the pipeline of good engineers – you know, those that build and maintain society.

    • Miller says:

      Agree this is the way to go, the one problem I’d mention is that sometimes, even the best planners, savers and professionals who do this in the US get shafted by the divorce system. The US (closely followed by Canada and Australia) has the worst, mostly costly and corrupt divorce system in the world, and ironically if you work hard to save and build your savings and assets, that just means you’ll get hit even harder in divorce court. My immediate family’s been lucky not to have been hit personally, but I’ve had plenty of good friends and co-workers who followed this sensible path, got professional training and careers in in-demand fields, married someone they thought was also frugal and sensible–but then turned around and hung them out to dry in family courts. I have a lot of expat friends in Europe, Asia and even South America, and people don’t get “taken to the cleaners” there like in the US–custodial arrangements are almost always joint, and good earners and professionals don’t lose half their hard earned assets (or often more, with ridiculous alimony and child support imputing a spouse can go to jail for if they can’t keep paying). But in the USA, divorce is now a business like healthcare, an area that should never have been made a place for crass opportunists to make money from.

  32. Michael Engel says:

    The real median hourly income is shrinking since Q2 2020. The labor force became smaller too. A shrinking real income divided by a smaller labor force ==> real income is not as bad as it look.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @ME – I know you’re smart but I think you goofed the math here.

      A decreased “real median hourly income” (which is per person), earned by fewer workers (and with no increase in average working hours), implies a declining standard of living for all, and a significant decline in Real GDP. Unless there are invisible workers…

      This plus the COVID-era excess mortality data (for all age groups) may be part of why the media can’t actually consider telling anything resembling the truth – it would be too depressing.

      • Michael Engel says:

        Wisdom,
        If the labor force is constant, each worker earn less in real terms.
        Since it shrunk, real wages are not as bad as they look, or even better, possibly more productive, because the zoomers have better skills than the old pops.
        If real wages are more attractive than entitlements, the labor force will grow, get a booster from the black market and stay home guys with mums…

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          I still think you missed the point. Real median per-person hourly wages have fallen. Last year a typical worker got about $30/hour. This year they’re getting $31.50 (up 5% nominal) … but inflation is up over 8%, so the $31.50 doesn’t buy as much as it used to. That IS a net loss of buying power for each individual worker (unless they work extra hours somehow).

          That hourly wage data has nothing to do with the size of the workforce.

          But if you multiply those (declining) median hourly earnings (less buying power for each worker) times the smaller number of workers, you see that the total workers’ earnings across the economy are way down. On top of that, the overall population is growing – which means those workers have more dependents to care for despite having lower real income.

          Workers and their dependents are on a slow slide towards poverty.

          Looks like any recent GDP growth didn’t get to the workers, it went to non-wage income i.e. the wealthy. Be interesting to see more data on this.

          P.S. Real hourly wages are down, but many entitlements are indexed to inflation (so: not down). That implies erosion of the incentive to work. I hope real wages turn back up, and soon. People need to be able to live and support their loved ones who can’t work.

        • Miller says:

          Wisdom Seeker:
          “Looks like any recent GDP growth didn’t get to the workers, it went to non-wage income i.e. the wealthy. Be interesting to see more data on this.”

          True, and yet another flaw in GDP and why it’s more-and-more a flawed indicator leading us in the wrong direction. GDP and even GDP per capita tell us precious little about the distribution of wealth or transactions (in fact technically, GDP doesn’t calculate wealth at all). As you point out, the bulk of gains in GDP over the past two decades haven’t gone to American workers who’ve been more productive and worked harder. It’s gone to the idle rich with lots of investments and assets. This is yet another disaster of short sighted Fed policy over this period with ZIRP and QE, and it’s the sort of thing that leads to the collapse and breakup of countries when it goes to far. US workers have been doubly shafted especially since 2020, not only being deprived of the fruits of their labor in income, but also seeing their earnings diminish further from inflation and loss of buying power. This was Paul Volcker’s key achievement, in simply realizing this and responding.

  33. Uber Driver says:

    “And in tech, when the hiring manager is 32, and you’re 56, it’s tough getting that job.”

    If a job needs to be done, -as opposed to telephone hygenist or PR jobs-, someone will be hired, regardless of age. As this article suggests, the resumes of many qualified applicants will never be considered.

    Inflation is up but salaries don’t rise to fill the gap. There is a simple reason which agrees with the laws of supply and demand. Too many perfect candidates want your job.

    Ever since computerized resumes and global labor arbitrage began in the late 1990s, there has never been a shortage of perfect- ultra specialized candidates. The perfect canditate has no health problems and can survive on pizza and gator-aid while sleeping on a friend’s couch. The perfect candidate is by nature docile and only just barely qualified to do their job

    The problem is tech visas (which displace workers of any age) and the illegal employment of non-visa holding foreigners is rampant and provides an endless supply of perfect candidates. It’s very PC to believe that many of the 1 million undocumented in New York city are only taking jobs that Americans don’t want to do.

    Unfortunately, it also doesn’t help that the younger hiring manager has grown up indoctrinated by a woke culture that criminalizes even questioning the status or motivations of the ‘noble foreigner’ while declaring middle aged males (and probably females) as being responsible for all the world’s woes. Wokeism is a corporate American head- job that further justifies ageism in the mind’s of the young.

    If there were no tech visas companies would be hiring older Americans for the simple reason certain jobs must be done.

    • Apple says:

      I think HR systems purposely weed out older applicants. Hiring managers never see those older applicants.

      • El Katz says:

        I used to make HR send ALL resume’s to me. I’d instruct them as to which ones I wanted screened. They thought they’d bury me in them and I’d stop, but I was one of those that hired for life, not for convenience. Didn’t take long to wade through them.

  34. nightdipper says:

    Hiring the “Elderly” has always been an issue.
    Technology advances and changes more over a given time period than the legal profession so an older lawyer needs to learn less to keep their skillset marketable than an older engineer working in high tech. The has a direct impact on hiring the elderly in certain professions. I used the term elderly to piss off the older folks and I know it does because it takes one to know one.

    • JeffD says:

      Disagree. Simple example: Fundamentally, a computer can only do five operations — add, subtract, multiply, divide, and move data from point a to point be. Once you have been doing that for twenty years, you have seen all the successful patterns for structuring those five operations within a large system. About every five years, they give those pstterns a fancy new name, or change the gammer needed, but those changes can be overcome in a week. All that is important is that the underlying patterns for successfully using the five operations in a full system context have not changed. Knowledge of how to work at scale is everything and knowledge of particulars is inconsequential. Same for most engineering disciplines.

  35. Trucker Guy says:

    A know quite a few younger guys who’ve just dropped out of society. They quit working, moved back in with their parents, said they’d make a go at some nonsense non-job like realtor or YouTuber, and sit in a bedroom doing nothing and mooching.

    I asked a couple of them that have swung by the office why. Housing is completely unaffordable, women (according to them) are socially unappealing for one reason or another, they don’t have the money for kids as well, and generally don’t see a future and have a very fatalistic and materialistic view of life. Seems to be a consensus with young millennial/gen z men in general.

    I’ve had some similar thoughts as well. I’m closing in on 30 doing back breaking work and the back begs for rest; the mind looks for a change. I’ve still got a lot of years ahead of me statistically speaking. I’m too young to finish a 50-60 hour week and lay in bed all day hurting. Can’t imagine what this’ll be like in another 30 years.

    It also begs the question of what for? I make 60-65k a year slaving away working more than full time and still have to live with other people because housing is absolutely absurd and everything is increasingly expensive. That’s a pretty bad deal for the young generation in such a prosperous country. It’s easy to see how people check out. Especially being constantly lectured about how easy the new generation has it. If I lost my CDL for whatever reason, I’m done for in regards to making a semblance of a livable wage. It makes a guy think. I should move back in with my folks and go to college with my pissly house down payment I’ve got collecting dust.

    A mere traffic ticket in my personal car could end my entire career with insurance regulations in the trucking industry now. Then I’d be flipping burgers at Micky D’s for 18 dollars an hour and mandatory part time so that I don’t get insurance.

    The young kids today have a lot of very harsh truths about adulthood that they were never taught for whatever reason. Once they’ve left the nest, then reality hits them like a brick wall. I thought the same thing, I’d go into the trades. Only the trades paid nothing unless you were connected and get into a union. So then I said I’d drive a truck and make the big bucks while seeing the country. I’ve spent all of my 20s handcuffed to that damn steering wheel, now I run regional and while it blows all other trucking jobs out of the water, it’s still a crummy life and I work like a mule.

    I remember hearing all along the way that life gets better after this and that, being an adult is great, college is fun, your 20s are the best years, you can do anything you want, be anyone you want. Etc. Reality is a whole different story though. They encourage you to jump in the deep end and everything will work out because we can’t hurt anyone’s feelings and everyone can just be a winner. That’s just a good path to end up a broken down loser.

    I see a lot of immigrants and foreigners in the trucking world. They’re very social and the ones that can get over here all work exceptionally hard and focus on wealth creation. Some spoil their kids to give them what they didn’t have, and they complain how lazy and materialistic they are. The others who shove their children against the grind stone see them achieve great success if they don’t destroy them emotionally.

    I think it’s a greater social issue of the Gen X and some of the boomers and the parenting style. Millennials seem to be taking the same road and amplifying it. I’ve been around family who are my age and have kids, the amount of micromanaging and nanny behavior is astounding. I don’t think trying to explain to a 4 year old political dogma (left or right) and high level moral concepts is an effective parenting strategy. You can lecture a teenager about future consequences and the deeper societal connection your actions may have. Maybe. Sitting on the ground in front of your toddler and holding his hand lovingly and yammering on about how picking his nose is affecting his personal image and persona to his peer group is absurd.

    Another small note I’d like to add in regards to another comment somewhere above, the young generation has also seemed to have lost their tech ability. The older to young millennials seem to have the advantage. Gen Z is quite inefficient with tech and computers from what I’m seeing. A lot of kids are okay with phones and apps but not much else. It’s anecdotal but I knew a computer lab teacher who taught 6-8 and then moved to high school computer lab. He says the 6th graders from yesteryear could type faster and understand basic computing like file systems, desktop GUI, and by 8th grade more advanced curriculum like basic coding, html websites, basic video game modding etc.

    Apparently there are 12th graders who en mass employ ye olde hunt and peck typing and can’t make a spreadsheet. If they even know what a spreadsheet is or let alone why you’d use one.

    I should really go back to college and become an IT systems administrator. Maybe just go around and gut offices of their Windows 10 installations and install Windows 7? Would I be made out to be a digital terrorist if I installed Ubuntu onto my bosses office computer?

    • Gomilitary says:

      Join the military…………..

    • Tom H says:

      You are both absurd and too smart to be who you say you are. Maybe you should write fiction. Your writing skills are better than most people with a bachelor’s degree. Your observations are keen, but perhaps localized. Definitely you are off on GenX parenting, at least for this dad. Humans are smart, no matter the age or time, except for the majority of people who are idiots, also of all ages. If you truly are a trucker, with such insights, that would land you in the second camp.

      • Trucker Guy says:

        You’d be quite surprised by who you find sitting at the helm of those big trucks. Just at my yard alone there is a guy with a master’s degree in biological chemistry. He’s not the greatest driver; lacks spacial awareness for tight spots and can be slow moving. Nonetheless, he gets berated as an idiot constantly by a braindead supervisor who can’t remember his own name and probably has an IQ of 85.

        And yes, I’m probably pretty foolish to be doing this job. The allure of money sooner rather than later set me on such a path.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        NAH on the ‘;majority” part TH;;;
        otherwise right on
        VERY clear that ”the majority” are not only NOT ”idiots” but really just ignore all the BS from almost all ”news sources” that are just propaganda mills/outlets these days…
        pretty sure it would scope out that the vast, vast majority of ”NEWs” these days is just more propaganda from our dearly beloved ”lobby groups”””’

    • Lauren says:

      You have a CDL, which society can’t live without and for which there is no substitute. If you can’t make that work to your advantage, you either live in the wrong place or are in the wrong industry. I’m in the heavy civil construction world and ya’ll are a hot ticket item right now. Especially if you have a lowboy.

    • Valerie in Australia says:

      Trucker Guy, Just an observation from a pretty smart teacher – You sound intelligent with Tech skills and a great work ethic. There are worse things than moving back in with your folks (if they are good people) while you get the education and training you need to get that IT job you mentioned. Avoid as much school debt as possible- You don’t need that albatross around your neck. Truck driving without union support isn’t a good career choice and you sound smart enough ought to have other options. Take the Leap!

    • Valerie from Australia says:

      Yes, I know what you mean about the tech knowledge. It is all apps and phones for students I teach. A generation ago, the kids were good at using their computer knowledge to solve different computer issues – novel but not too different. They were not computer programmer material but were fairly competent. Now, the kids can’t even do this and rely on me to show them how to figure out any problems they encounter. It goes to show you, this technology boom in education isn’t producing the critical thinkers they claim it is.

  36. David Hall says:

    People suffered degenerative diseases as they aged. I live in a 55+ community where most of the people are 65+. I met a woman who had three artificial knee operations because one operation failed. She was thin and walked without a limp. My neighbor across the street has two artificial knees and an artificial hip. She is obese and limped.

    The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few.

    • Anthony A. says:

      I also live in a 55+ community and I’m almost 79 with and had both hips replaced (long distance runner in my youth). My golf game is still quite good and I walk 10,000 steps per day.

      But you are right, this place is the “walking wounded” of old people…well, the ones that can still walk, anyway.

  37. David says:

    Wow, Wolf. What you said about “ageism” is *exactly* what has happened to me, except that I looked for a job in my field (tech) for 3 and 1/2 years, every day, went on every interview I could, did every phone interview I could … even got tested over and over on interviews and did well … but I still could not land a job. I thought I’d end up having to work at Lowes. Sooo frustrating! Finally got a decent job but it was exasperating. Three and a half years!

  38. Mike T. says:

    Wolf you hit the nail on the head about ageism. I’m seeing this with WSM boomers or early Gen X’ers. Wokeism has overtaken corporate America, our company HR policy is all about diversity, equity, and inclusion never mind about work ethic and ability. For my next interview I’m coloring my hair green, wearing a rainbow colored shirt and using the pronouns they/them/theirs…..otherwise I’m checking out early and going full-time sailing.

  39. Mf says:

    Boomers have a bad rap because they were at the helm when the economy hit the iceberg back in 2008. So they get the blame. Those are the breaks.

    Louis VI lost his head mostly because his grandfather’s policies took many decades to destroy the mighty French economy. To this day, everyone thinks it was Marie Antoinette’s fault.

    And that’s how it will go for us. Ageism cannot be cured. Boomers will go down in history as the most coddled, self-righteous, egotistical, and incompetent generation in American history. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant.

    Just like nobody really cares that there’s not a shred of evidence that Marie actually said “Let them eat cake.”

    • HowNow says:

      How about Eve? Taking the hit for Adam eating the apple?! Probably why SCOTUS feels that a woman has no rights when it comes to her own body. Guilty, as charged, for the Original Sin.
      P.S. I have it from a reliable source that Eve said, “Let them eat cake” too, but no body heard it.

  40. TK says:

    Good article Wolf. A dose of reality. I worked for tax prep company last year part time seasonal. I used to be an HR exec. But it felt good to put on a tie nontheless. The compensation was very low. But I felt good going to work. Years back I saw lots of ageism first hand. I heard our President say “he is too old but a youthful old guy.” Age discrim claims are impossible to prove and we all know it. So my role was to find another reason to terminate older people. Last, you are right in that I can exist to my dying days without going back to a full time adventure. So I gave up trying. Instead I do some amazing things in an unrelated field that was always a hobby. Very little pay, but amazing. Some homeruns to my credit. PE is not good for employees, never was. My last Co. was churned 3 times finally resting with KKR and CDR. Go public then private x’s 3. No lasting equity in that story, just more debt and a drive for cheaper “high potential” hires. By the way, my replacement failed miserably. A smart young person but unprepared for reality. Such is life.

  41. 2banana says:

    More companies threw away excellent employees because they didn’t want the sharpy thing.

    Literally, destroyed their business over that.

    And are still, proudly, not hiring anyone who does have the sharpy thing…four times.

    You can’t fix that kind of level of stupid.

  42. Shawn Burns says:

    Wolf your comments on ageism are spot on. as many of the comments above suggest.

  43. Mendocino Coast says:

    Ageism is an extremely interesting experience as it is a global issue perhaps in its infancy on many front’s.
    Having personally lived in the Philippines and experienced people’s employed lives I know this to be true.
    All over at age 25 to be replaced by a Much younger person of “Collage level ” most often age 18 to 20.

    Each Hired person has a 6 Months contract to be renewed “or not” after being hired but after age 25 your finished as is the norm.
    Being born and raised in San Francisco as a Non Filipino experiencing such Ageism is a hard to believe experience their for a American .

    Try to imagine starting a family and having your job ending end at age 25

    Reminds me of the song imagine by John Lennon
    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us, only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Livin’ for today
    Ah
    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too
    Imagine all the people
    Livin’ life in peace
    You
    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one
    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world
    You
    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

  44. Concerned_guy says:

    Long time reader.

    I want to give a shout out to Wolf who has done a great job in keeping this website apolitical and it comment section toxic free, no racism, sexism, ….ism. It a like a fresh breath air as compared to all the other websites (micro blogging, news, etc) and their comment/chat…. section.

    I wish I could find website like this for regular news.

    Anyway, I hope he is able to keep doing this for unforeseen future.

    Thank you so much.

  45. stratus says:

    I’m arriving late to the party. Hopefully everyone hasn’t left yet. Short answer: Hawaii Five-0, Hume Cronyn, Episode : Over 50 ?, Steal.

    That episode aired around 1970 or so. Many episodes could be rather gritty with all the bodies. Cronyn was in two episodes with related plots. The episodes were actually rather light going by body count. Ageism has been around a while.
    I think with the decline in manufacturing and the average age in the trades climbing we are losing a huge amount of institutional knowledge. This knowledge was built up over many decades. It will take a long time to rebuild it, if ever.

  46. tom20 says:

    There are days when I’m beat, tired, and think how nice it would be to go work a 40 v.s owning this business.
    Then I read this thread and all the “ism” crap, and remember how lucky we are to be self employed.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “how lucky we are to be self employed.”

      YES, totally agree.

      • Anton says:

        Same here. Graduated law school
        In 2008 and been self employed ever since. At first firms would not offer me work because I did not have experience. Then I gained that experience and firms started asking me to work for them, I turned them down. Now I am self employed with 2 attorneys working for me and I will never go to work for someone else ever. I hear the nightmare stories from others miserable in their employment situation and thank god that I never fell into that trap.

        • Einhal says:

          There’s nothing that would make me happier than for the big firm model to fall apart. There obviously will always be a place for specialization, but the reality is, the firms where the partners are billing at $1,500 an hour are not really any more capable for 95% of cases and transactions than smaller firms where the partners are billing $600 an hour. And companies are learning it and demanding huge discounts from large firms, or transitioning work from them entirely.

    • Anthony A. says:

      The last 25 years of my engineering career I was self employed. That came after a push out by a big oil company at age 50 with two children at home and a non-working wife.

      No pension, just savings and SS now but we are good to go to the end. Yeah, I rolled it up at age 75 being still in good health. I still get calls from old clients but decline any project work (working on my golf game these days).

    • IanCad says:

      How right you are! Far less stress, especially with no employees.

  47. SpencerG says:

    I am living proof of the ageism problem right now. I am 57 and have an MBA from one of the top business schools on the planet… “Hook Em Horns!” Retired from the Navy Reserve as a Commander. Used to teach Business Management (mostly Marketing and Entrepreneurship) at two different universities.

    After my last management position ended in November of 2020 (I was a Recruiting Manager for the 2020 Census which ended) it was time to look for a new position. In the space of a year I applied for 208 jobs… I got FOUR interviews… and ZERO job offers.

    Then I read this quote from Wolf in November of 2021…

    “Ageism trumps everything. 35-year olds don’t want to hire 65-year-olds. Simple as that. I didn’t do it either when I was 35. And now, three decades too late, I feel bad about that.”

    That is the kind of insightful comments we see at WolfStreet that keep bringing me back here. It explained so much that I was just shocked. For instance, why was the computer system rating me as one of the highest acceptable applicants (based on my resume and application answers) for well over half of the positions but I wasn’t getting any interviews once the humans took over the process? In my job search I wasn’t wasting time applying for positions that I wasn’t qualified to fill.

    In March of this year I went to a weekly Job Fair at a local casino. I thought I would find out how to get my resume into their system and hunt around for a Marketing position of some kind. Instead their HR people instantly brought two managers down to interview me on the spot… one wouldn’t make an offer because he said the other would make me a better offer… which she did. It pays exactly half of what I was making at the Census Bureau when I was a manager there but I am grateful to have some income flowing in now… it may help me save my house from foreclosure.

    That said, because of Wolf’s comment it did occur to me that the HR people in their early 30s didn’t steer me towards managerial jobs. They steered me to the call center jobs booking hotel, flight, restaurant, and entertainment ticket reservations.

    Reading the comments to THIS article also highlights what Wolf meant when he said “Ageism trumps everything.” The number of people who post some story (on an article warning of the dangers of ageism) of how old people (or young people) lack computer (or work) skills is both funny and weird. Two words people… CONFIRMATION BIAS.

    This job I am in now is challenging because you have to juggle literally a dozen different computer programs while being engaging on the phones to the top 10% of the casino’s customers. Out of the seven people who started this training cycle, so far we have lost the 52 year old and the two 21-year olds. Holding on are two people in their 50s and two in their 30s. The point is that it is not wise to assume that old or young people are going to be a bad fit for a position because you remember some story from the past.

  48. Rob says:

    Ageism has always been a thing and its effects on Boomers affects the employment data more greatly than in the past. I get that. But there’s something else going on, as well, that’s distorting the data unrecognized with traditional analysis. Millennials and older Z’s… a cohort even bigger than Boomers. Many, perhaps millions, are engaged in the economy, but their activity is not captured, or rather not published in the employment data. We have crypto bros, meme stock traders, instagram models, only fans, streamers, youtubers, tiktokers, etc. The most successful likely have set up a business and are officially in the self employed category, but the vast majority of this group likely treat their tips as donations and only report capital gains, if they have any. Since living with parents have become normalized, they don’t even need much income to eek out an existence. In official employment stats, they are probably counted as not participating in the workforce and also not unemployed.

  49. eg says:

    You are precisely correct, Mr. Wolf. I have two brothers in their 50s who recently experienced the ageism you report. The 52 year old eventually got hired again, but the 58 year old has essentially given up trying to get hired. He’s working on various solo projects, but has no illusions about ever working for a firm again.

    Likewise your observations about the effects of this large cohort on the participation rate. Once they give up trying to get hired, they simply disappear from the unemployment statistics, which is why the official rate is not terribly useful absent other indicators to provide context.

  50. SleepyJoe says:

    “Ageism is a real problem”
    It happened to me March 2021, after long mechanical engineer career with large semi equipment company in SCCA, I was packaged out, this company does this about every 10 years, then they replace old guys with mostly H1Bs ……….it was hell doing zoom interviews I could tell almost immediately by their gestures that they expected someone younger and I was not going to get the job even after Acing most interviews.
    After doing part time freelance gigs now ready to move and accept my career as ME is over!

  51. LeClerc says:

    I wonder if Indian Gen Z has the same relationship with tech as ours does.

    If not…open the doors wide to H1Bs!

  52. What is real? says:

    I have an aunt in her 70s who has not had a difficult time finding work as a SAS programmer and is a lifelong journeyman. Can’t really sustain employment for more than 2-3 years at a given place but finds work quickly enough to forestall any gaps. She pays close attention to the element of ageism in her interactions at work, and does mention it plays a role. I have not heard of anything egregious but she gets paid well nonetheless. She’s noticed how common H1bs are as well as ongoing efforts to recruit and maintain teams outside of the country.

    • SocalJimObjects says:

      SAS is not exactly a tech skill that’s popular among the younger crowd. And that’s actually a GOOD thing. I too work in tech, and although I am still good enough to join one of the FAANGS if I wanted to, the fact of the matter is I no longer want to spend too much time upgrading my skills, and as such I am thinking that I should get out while the going is still good or I should resign myself to maintaining legacy systems after a few more years.

      • JeffD says:

        Actuaries that know what they are doing make $10s of millions for their company, so it’s no surprise she’s in demand.

  53. Michael Engel says:

    1) Between Q2 2014 and Q2 2020 real weekly wages popped vertically
    up from $330/w to $393/w.
    2) After the climax came the response.
    3) Since Q2 2014 and Q2 2020 the real GDP was up from $17.0T to $19.2T.
    4) After the climax came a sharp response. Since Q2 2020 real GDP
    moved higher to a new all time high, but real wages are lagging behind, diverging with real GDP.
    5) Old people don’t know how to order a pizza in the nearest gas station.
    Young accountants in their 20’s and 30’s are more efficient than the old ones. Old fighter pilots cannot fly F-35, period. Old folks cannot do stuff not because of their knees or heart bypass, but because they don’t have the skills.

    • Anthony A. says:

      M.E. said: 5) Old people don’t know how to order a pizza in the nearest gas station.

      What??

      Our gas stations sell gasoline and diesel. As an old guy, I get my pizza from the internet. Don’t you? LOL

  54. historicus says:

    I remember when 5% unemployment was considered “full employment”. (20th Century)
    I suspect the shifting to lower numbers is one more game from the Fed to promote low interest rates.
    Remember when Bernanke said rates would “normalize” when unemployment dipped below 6%?
    (Normal prior to his comment was Fed Funds roughly equal to inflation.)
    He also said QE would then stop. Later we had QE with unemployment under 4%. The shifting sands of Fed policy.

    • HowNow says:

      Business cycles aren’t stationary, neither is inflation, supply, demand, the whole mess. The Fed says what it needs to say, obfuscates as necessary, or asks, “Where did the moon go?”
      The sands are always shifting. What’s so difficult to understand?

  55. Ed says:

    Covid not only has kept some people out of the labor force because they’re ill and other because they can’t find childcare, etc. etc. but it has also constrained supply of goods. Some inflation is still due to supply constraint, certainly (I can tell that when I drive by my local car dealerships, but also when I read about the trouble Apple and Tesla are having due to lockdowns in China).

    It seems the Fed is forced to grope in dark. And they’re doing 75 basis point rate changes. The world seems very full of risk.

    I think they could be right. It’s just a little bit hard to tell.

    • Gusgus 2021 says:

      They did this with Machine Shops ,threw the old guys away ,let them die or retire
      All of their experience could have been taught to younger workers ….now good luck finding a die maker in the US

  56. Einhal says:

    Not much to say in here that hasn’t already been said, but my experience has been that it’s a double-edged sword. There are certainly older employees who are unfairly treated because of their age, but there are also older employees who refuse to adapt. I’m talking about the kind of employee who refuses to learn how to use the office printer and scanner, and instead insists that an admin help him. Those types frustrate everyone, young and old, as they end up using more resources and slowing things down.

    But there are plenty of fields where raw experience is king, and you can’t beat 30 years of already having done that.

    • HowNow says:

      Contrary to the opinion of most comments posted, I had two hires who were my age (late 50s at the time), and I wanted to give them a break. Both knew everything, had been everywhere and would not bend in the least to doing things that needed to be done. One was an absolute bum. The other was just totally set in his ways. In both cases, these were hires I basically couldn’t refuse as they were referred to me by a company VP and my superior, two levels above me.

      • QQQBall says:

        @HowNow Yup. “That’s not how we did it where I worked before” is a deal killer. A second deal killer is “look how much you make compared to what you pay me.” Easier to do it all myself.

  57. Gina says:

    Wolf, I know what you mean, my husband and I were thinking ahead already in our mid 30’s about when we get older what the job market could be like and how older workers would be treated. Ageism is a real problem and it seems to be getting worse now not just with the job market but many parts of our society. We planned ahead prudently for our kids and ourselves. Here in Canada, we retired in 2019 as we found it was time to finally stop working after 35 years full time, our total 150,000 hours of work done in 35 years, we were tired. This is why planning way a head to be in a much better position than most Canadians. We own mortgage free our modest house since 2008. The one consistent problem we have with our deposits is those darn, historical, manipulated interest rates. This is why we aggressively saved more since 2010 because of lower interest rates, our getting older seeing how we were being treated in the job market. Our total fixed rate guaranteed deposits interest rates at many financial institutions vary 3.15% to 3.65% locked until February-2023. Interest rates have risen higher than these rates for now here in Canada 4% to 4.75%. We just turned 57 and in 3 years we we will be getting our early CPP pensions that will bring in $1,500 a month extra and help us maintain, grow our future savings. We are right now bringing in interest income which is our only source $43,000 a year and we have no debt so we live a pretty basic lifestyle with some things we like to do but after taxes which is modest because of our modest income, cost of living is getting much more expensive but we are still able to save $13,000 a year which is not that bad. Our CPP pensions and higher savings, deposits in 3 years and debt free position will keep us in a decent place financially.

  58. Disgusted In Mount Pleasant says:

    Too much evidence to dispute that ageism is a thing, especially in tech, but it does work the other way too, sometimes at least. I started my own small business 20 yrs ago, I’m now 70 and still at it. We rarely look for help, everyone who works with us works from home in various places up and down the Eastern US.

    When we do look for help we won’t even consider anyone younger than 40+/-, all we see below that is an increasing lack of initiative and common sense, not to mention poor communication and computer skills and an all-round low level of education, combined with a quite startling sense of entitlement. My clients talk about the same thing.

    I second the comment about making sure you get ALL the resumes when hiring, I always did that when I was in the corporate world. HR has no clue as to what people actually need in their employees. I firmly believe it has contributed in no small measure to the problems we face in the labor market.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “I started my own small business 20 yrs ago, I’m now 70 and still at it.”

      Kudos!!! Way to go. Totally agree.

      I also wish younger people figured out the benefits of hiring older people. But that’s not gonna happen.

      • Michael Engel says:

        It’s gonna happen. In the next recession hire only good old guys, with good skills, who have been idle for too long, to fix your house, replace a carpet, bookkeeping…They will be happy to do something, to flex their muscles, to do it right, even for much lower prices.

  59. Michael Engel says:

    1) The cost of housing, healthcare, insurance, daycare, food and fuel… is too high.
    2) Large co and “states enterprise” will provide all the above. The gov will shift cost to their “private” partners, to the states sector. HR will hire workers with good vitamin P, paying livable wages to the lucky ones, with good background..
    4) The whales will grow and become more powerful and influential. Small businesses can enjoy their freedom.
    5) High tech co will build satellite housing with daycare, med centers, food courts…
    6) In SF & NYC large co are buying vacant commercial buildings, small apartment to house low and mid level employees. They can bend the will of mayors and politicians.
    7) If u misbehave u are out.

    • Beardawg says:

      ME

      6 and 7 are conceivable for sure. I misbehaved before all this (I got results but was not “perceived” as a team player x3 in my career). Being “out” has been much better. When “out” does not have much upside though (big boys have it all locked down), that’s a whole different challenge. My daughter & granddaughter are facing something I would not be able to handle.

  60. Beardawg says:

    Agree with supposition of early retirement. I retired at 51 (2014) – middle brother at 55 (during the pandemic) and youngest brother will retire next year at age 57. We all know (or knew) we will never be offered FT work again for what we’re worth due to ageism.

    It’s no mystery why this type of discrimination is ignored. OWGs are invisible or are tools now – they just need to die. Since most of them self-isolate, there’s no one to fight the battle.

  61. Alec says:

    As a young IT professional working in the upper Midwest this article has been, spot on. Enough so that I’m leaving a comment for your consideration. It is interesting to see the issue with labor force participation rate as a victimization of aging workers. And the data seems to elude to this. But in response to the annecdotes, I’ll provide my own.
    From my personal experience, the cohort in reference, their mantra has been eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. A recurring theme of rugged individualism. Their inability to adapt to an every changing world, is their problem. The nuances of hiring and firing were established by those that came before us, I say that as a 20 something year old. As I see it, this cohort, is suffering their own demise. The results of their own actions. Don’t like the taste of your medicine hey boomers? Am I supposed to feel bad for them? No I do not. How is your retirement portfolio doing lately? If you have one. See you at Walmart. Thanks in advance for greeting me.
    With that being said…
    Young workers are banding together, taking back control of the labor market, and not allowing our fellow workers to become victims. Rugged individualism is not how the U.S. got to where we are (were). It is not how the working class had such prosperity for so long. Rugged individualism was a silly notion for simpler people. Let’s just say we out grew that and move on.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Alec,

      “Am I supposed to feel bad for them? No I do not.”

      And that’s correct, you don’t need to feel bad for boomers, that would be the last thing they want or need.

      Just remember your words down the road when you get trampled by ageism yourself. And it will happen. There is a younger crowd now in grade school that is getting trained to use ageism to reject, ignore, and ridicule you. So enjoy while you can. That’s what we did too.

  62. anon says:

    I fully retired 6 years ago. My wife followed 5 years ago. (COBRA for me kept health insurance costs reasonable).

    We’re both boomers. And have ZERO desire and, thankfully, NEED to go back to work.

    We’re very happy spoiling our grandkids and taking driving trips. Even with outrageous gasoline prices.

  63. Marty Milner says:

    Think for just a second about all those single women who worked retail for most of their lives that got forced out of the workplace in the late 90s by “performance reviews.” Their earnings and promotions were muffled by the Great Recession. Then hitting “early retirement” their meagre life savings placed then right into the COVID cycle of increased spending. They face sexism and ageism. I know several of them their savings are rapidly depleting.
    The SSA COLA increase vaporized in the first two grocery shopping sessions- inflation is hitting them hard- especially car, rent, insurance and food. Along with them many men they will end up on street corners during the next Recession every economist is so proudly predicting. They are just not dying fast enough not to be an embarrassment.
    This collapse of these working Americans is predictable and completely unnecessary. America is already a third world country- we just haven’t gotten the bill yet for our greed. Living the way we do has a human waste residue that continues to grow yearly. It is the true cost of our prosperity. We just NEVER talk about it.

    • Valerie from Australia says:

      Yes, many of those commenting here are sharing their experiences as professionals. It is ten times worse for those in the service sector or who are working class – especially if they lose their health insurance or didn’t ever have health insurance through their employer.

  64. steve bellagio says:

    True. Ageism but also sexism (against males) and racism ( against whites).
    Clearly at play particularly when “diversity” is pledged. It’s not even a secret.

  65. QQQBall says:

    Ahh, yeah. Consider how it feels when you are trying to explain something to a someone who wasn’t even born when you entered your profession. Now consider that this person was promoted to their position based upon some criteria other than competence. It’s not worth the hassle and frustration of dealing with idjits anymore. :)

  66. HR01 says:

    Wolf,

    Re: “The labor force refuses to grow.”

    Bizarre? Hardly. Try chatting up folks in the life insurance or disability insurance biz. They’ll provide some context. Excess deaths at cataclysmic levels. Disability claims off the charts.

    Awfully tough to punch the clock when dead or disabled.

  67. SimpleLife says:

    In my youth I always wondered why my organization kept older folks around. Through the years I realized the institutional knowledge that experienced employees brought to an organization. The fun part is that now I’m paid for what I know more than what I do, and it’s often easy to argue my position with less experienced superiors. Lucky that I had good mentors in my youth, especially the ones that warned me how quickly time passes and to prepare for life after work. Thank you, I’ll try to pass on the great advice.

  68. Jason Mitchell says:

    I was unable to get another job in my field of 35+ years after being downsized. Eventually I accepted that after a successful and fulfilling career it was over. I was in my 50s and didn’t want to retire that early even if I probably could have.

    Then I started applying to all kinds of jobs, mostly entry level jobs just to keep working. To my horror none of them wanted me. I think a lot of the rejection was due to ageism but also because my resume was so extensive in my field.

    Finally someone called me and it was the business Wolf mentioned Walmart. Please don’t laugh or poke fun at me but I took the job, have been there for nearly a decade and actually enjoy it. It is the perfect position for me heading into retirement. I especially enjoy interacting with my coworkers as well as many of the customers. I have never felt less socially isolated as with this job.

    I give Walmart credit. They have no problem hiring older workers. I actually have a co-worker in his 80s as well as several in their 70s. Yeah I know… Walmart really has no choice. They have to staff up their stores and can’t be overly picky. Still even if it’s by default I have full appreciation for their willingness to hire older workers.

    • tom15 says:

      It says a lot about the person who would ridicule you for being employed.
      You are blessed to have a job you enjoy doing.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      “Finally someone called me and it was the business Wolf mentioned Walmart. Please don’t laugh or poke fun at me but I took the job, have been there for nearly a decade and actually enjoy it. It is the perfect position for me heading into retirement.”

      I have friends who did the same thing as you. Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself!!!

  69. Happy1 says:

    As a slight counter post to the general trend on this article, I am in a physician practice in a field with rapidly evolving technology and fast paced work environment. I’m currently in my mid 50s. It has been my observation over a long career that people in my field are not dynamic contributors once they reach their 50s, and more so in their 60s and 70s, with rare exceptions that prove the general thesis. Older people do provide the historical perspective and life perspective that younger people often lack, but this is not uniformly true. In general, people in their 40s hit the sweet spot in my field, productive, engaged, up to date, an with enough perspective to lead. Very few people in their 60s are doing anything but coasting, although I can think of one exception.

  70. Hargraves says:

    I’m an older guy. I have a lot of money to spend on whatever I want to.

    However, if I go into a small business, the only kind that I go out of my way to support, with cash only, and see nothing but teens and twenty years olds, I’ll call the manager over to tell him they will be boycotted by me, and everyone I know–I have a big mouth and lots of time to smear them– until they hire some people in their forties and beyond.

    If I see a mix of younger and older workers, or better yet, older experienced workers, they get my cash.

  71. J says:

    Hi Wolf…wanted to quickly speak to my direct “ageism” experience.
    The purpose for me high lighting this is to ideally assist others….

    Got laid off June 10th.. on June 12th activated Indeed Dice.com and LinkedIn with Available and Updated resume.

    I first created a ‘mantra’….I now have a Great Job, with a Great Company, earning Great money & benefits, with a Great Team…
    This creation is my go to place, when I’m not taking actions – as I know I should…

    On Monday June 13th, got 26 calls (I’m a mainframe Developer as well as a Business analyst and certified project manager) and I’m approaching 68 this month. Year of birth 1954, although mentally I had taken back 10 and think of myself as 58 …lol

    2nd day got 14 call…3rd day more than 10 and stopped counting…

    I quickly realized that the recruiting was more or less overwhelmed by the Indian (from that continent) as well as domestic. Salary ranges for the Same Job were 37$ per hour to $70…

    I knew same job because client, remote % , location, and job requirements were identical. I started to save my time on speaking to some members of the recruiting team because I could barely understand them… And would nicely offer to save us both time…by asking Client name, remote %, hourly rate and location.

    Within 14 days of layoff had my first interview and the following week two more with offers and happened to be same client. Used the first offer as leverage to increase the second by 30%…and in declining the first offer the rate went up about 3%…did not “play hardball” because the second offer has a good possibility of full time within 6 months…provided the Fed doesn’t totally destroy the labor market and the rest of the economy in some draconian fight against the “evils of the world” that they themselves brought into this world by more misguided policies.

    If you would like please feel free to echo this to your community…anomaly please..

    One last item…when getting laid off…my soon to be former employer was going to give me ‘suplimental pay’…subtracting my unemployment benefits from my package…I made a simple request…asking can’t you just pay me out..and subtly added due to my age…in a few moments the HR person said OK…that resulted in over 3K extra per month..I was polite and professional and not angry or hostile during our meeting.

    Best regards
    J

  72. Valerie from Australia says:

    Wolf, Thanks for addressing the issue of ageism. You are spot on and it is a real shame. Furthermore, it isn’t just in the business world that this is happening.

    I am a primary teacher and I have seen so many talented, committed, hard-working teachers of this age group leave their tenured jobs, for some reason or another, and never find meaningful employment again. The profession is less for their not being brought back into teaching.

  73. SeanDF says:

    It’s a broadly structural problem in the America, that has destroyed the middle class, sent our working class jobs off shore, and created a predatory financial elite that has sold off on shore manufacturing and invention for investment banking break up fees. Wall Street, ironically, has used American pension money to then fund Chinese industry at every level, from tampons to i-phones. Globalization, has well… globalized your job to a cheaper country, like China, where a billion people live at the same level as Gautemala. Most industrial governments try to protect their workers and economy: our politicians and bankers sell us off wholesale.

    Every G-7 (except us) industrialized country has single payer health care, which averages a cost of 10% of GDP. We are paying twice as much, for a POS system that is designed to be monopolistic and non-transparent.

    Other countries, Australia comes to mind, have fully-funded pension schemes, with individually owned accounts (it’s called the Superannuation), which prevents poverty upon retirement. Congress loves Social Security, as it is a big imaginary pot of money to fund political adventures, like $8 trillion for endless wars. SS accounts, like Medicare, are not funded by savings allocations.

    Finally, higher education is a complete scam. In Europe, it’s almost free. My nephew in Holland is paying $100 monthly, getting degrees in both Physics and Electrical Engineering. Sorry, your degree in Gender Studies that you borrowed $100K for, is not going to be terribly useful in the real world, especially rugged individualist America.

  74. Larry says:

    Ageism. I do it. I don’t hire youngins anymore. Let someone else experience the pain, especially with today’s young people. Once they’re broke in and have figured out the world, I may take a look.

    Automation, automation…

  75. NotMe says:

    One factor that keeps getting missed: The labor pool is not confined to the USA, especially for tech. Most tech jobs are now remote, or with an option to move after a set period. Most are with contract houses like Wylie or Tata. The patent office tech staff in many sections was entirely, I mean entirely staffed, by foreign workers under contract.

    So the fact that no one is working in the US, says nothing about Chennai. This does not involve restaurant staff.

    Labor is like the dollar. Some dollars never land, they are Eurodollars. Some workers never land.

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