Job Problems in Middle Age

March 21, 1955

Report Outline
Growing Concern Over Age Discrimination
Barriers to Employment in Middle Years
Services in Aid of Older Job Seekers

Growing Concern Over Age Discrimination

Job hunting difficulties commonly experienced today by persons in the middle age brackets point up a paradox of the times. Every year the relative number of persons 45 years of age or older in the United States is increasing, and there is consequent demand for a rising proportion of job openings for such workers. General prosperity and an expanding- economy might be expected to provide the needed employment opportunities. Yet middle aged persons, forced for one reason or another to look for new jobs, are all too apt to run up against an age barrier. Individuals with special qualifications, and well short of retirement age, seem to have almost as hard a time of it as persons not as favorably situated in those respects.

Secretary of Labor Mitchell pointed out in a recent magazine article that the older worker's job problem could become “disastrous to him and to the entire nation.” Mitchell said he was referring to “men over 45 and women over 35 who are healthy and competent, good for 20 years or more of productive labor,” and he warned: “Unless something is done to give them job opportunities, an estimated half of our adult population will be condemned to a life of economic uselessness,”

Impact Of Age Restrictions on National Welfare

The proportion of the total population aged 45 or over rose from 18 per cent in 1900 to 29 per cent in 1953, and the Census Bureau estimates that the ratio will climb to nearly 34 per cent by 1975 and then spurt to about 43 per cent by 1985. While the total population has doubled in the past half century, the number of persons who are from 45 to 64 years old has tripled, and the number in the group aged 65 or over has quadrupled.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Upward Mobility
Jun. 26, 2015  Millennial Generation
Dec. 03, 2010  Income Inequality
Apr. 29, 2005  Upward Mobility
Oct. 29, 1993  The Glass Ceiling
Jul. 23, 1993  Downward Mobility
Mar. 21, 1955  Job Problems in Middle Age
Civil Rights: Senior Citizens
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
General Employment and Labor