Brian Perry is a college-educated law clerk who worked at the Providence, Rhode Island-based Lovett, Scheffrin, and Harnett law firm for more than 25 years before being laid off in 2008. Since then, Perry has relentlessly searched for quality work, but he’s been unable to find anything stable. With minimal income, no solid job leads, and costs beyond what he could manage, Perry was forced to sell his home a few weeks ago.
“The sad thing is that many American families, especially here in Rhode Island, are worse off than I am,” Perry said in an interview.
Former professionals over the age of 40 are often not portrayed as the face of modern unemployment in the United States by many in the media. Americans hear a lot about recent college graduates who can’t find good jobs and about the unemployment rate in the African-American community topping 10 percent, but there isn’t a lot of talk about well-qualified job-seekers like Perry who have decades of work experience but can’t find any meaningful employment.
“But the unemployment rate has been dropping recently,” you’re undoubtedly thinking.
It’s true the unemployment rate for workers 40 and older (as well as for everyone else) has been dropping since 2010, but these figures are incredibly misleading. The primary reason for the drop is not better employment opportunities but rather is the result of millions of workers choosing to leave the labor force.