This economic recession has been dubbed a "he-cession" because, at least early on, male workers bore the brunt of layoffs.
To a certain segment of the population, however, it also clearly qualifies as a "gray-cession."
A greater percentage of older Americans are in the labor force than any time in the last 40 years, and the jobless rate of the 55-plus set has more than doubled during this downturn. A 7 percent unemployment rate for those 55 and older is still far below that of younger job seekers. Once unemployed, however, older workers tend to be out of work longer than their younger counterparts.
That's in part because the rules of finding a job have changed along with the job skills employers are seeking, said Victoria Funes, an AARP representative who helped organize a job fair for seniors on Tuesday that drew about 1,000 job seekers to the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. About 200 of them attended a workshop, and 96 of them signed up for one-on-one counseling.
"Many of them have been out of the job market for a while. Many of them have been in a job for a while," Funes said. "The business of looking for a job has changed."
For one, applicants have to go online for most job openings. They have to be adept at not only navigating websites, but also using the right keywords in a resume to increase the odds of getting noticed.
Job seeker Elizabeth Hmel, 59, said it was nice to go to a job fair where employers weren't just focused on 20-somethings.
"Imagine the amount of experience in this room," she said.