Frustrating times for unemployed older workers

April 6, 2010 8:21:34 PM PDT
People looking for work turned out in large numbers in the East Bay on Tuesday. A job fair offered hope for hundreds of people who came looking for a good opportunity.

The line stretched outside the building and it didn't get much easier inside for laid off Brenda Marie Munnell, stuck in line for a resume critique behind someone half her age. She says the last seven months of job searching has been horrible. It is the first time she has had to look for work in seven years, since the times have changed.

There were 250 jobs up for grabs and hundreds of desperate job seekers at the job fair in Emeryville of which ABC7 was a sponsor.

However, now the search is even more competitive and frustrating for those unemployed workers with more gray or white on their head than others.

"I don't know whether it's discrimination aspect or not, but you certainly feel like it is when you're my age and looking," says Larry Ferguson, a laid off worker.

Not only are workers 55 and older more likely to lose their jobs, their also more likely to stay unemployed longer than any other age group.

"I haven't gone through any interviews, nobody's called me back or anything," says Mary Schmidt from Oakland, who has been searching for work for almost two years.

Schmidt is not alone. A study out this week found that almost 30 percent of jobless workers 55 and older have been out of work for a year or more and more than one in five jobless Americans have been out of work for at least a year.

"Being in human resources for about nine plus years this is pretty much the worst I've ever seen it," says Leilani Patacsil, a recruiter from the Alameda County Medical Center.

"They feel like we've already been out in the field, we have our way of working and they forget that a lot of us are very flexible and we can learn and relearn," says Munnell.

Upcoming Job Fairs:

Congressman John Garamendi will host a jobs fair:
Diablo Valley College
Pleasant Hill
Saturday, April 10, 2010, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

ABC7's next job event, co-sponsored by the California Job Journal:
Hotel Whitcomb
1231 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
May 4, 2010, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You can also call: 1-888-THE-JOBS


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