Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Did you know that Sept. 21-25 is “National Employ Older Workers Week”? It is, so if you have a job opening, take a kindly view toward the AARP-eligible applicant at your place of business.

After all, bosses, recruiters and human resources personnel if you aren’t in the seasoned citizens ranks yet as an employee, you will be someday.

And thanks to the U.S. economic collapse into recession a year ago, a lot of veteran workers are either back in the job market or postponing retirement due to layoffs, shrinking investment portfolios, plunging home values and drying-up 401-Ks.

Others are looking for work and new careers due to buyouts. At one local company, more than 1,000 years of intellectual property and institutional knowledge walked out the door in the span of a couple weeks.

Unfortunately, the job picture is grim, to say the least, with N.C. unemployment hovering near 11 percent and the national jobless rate headed toward 10 percent.

For the veteran workers, increased competition for fewer jobs is bad news since they often are the most highly compensated.

Job prospects aren’t getting better for anyone, let alone the seasoned folks. Few if any people expect much job growth before 2010.

And the ranks of seniors looking for work are not going to shrink. Even before the latest recession struck, government projections are that 21 percent of the U.S. labor force will be age 55 or older by 2014. In 2008, according to the federal government, an estimated 40 percent of workers were 45 or older.

Talk about significant shifts in demographics – the North Carolina Employment Security Commission notes that by 2030 there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than under age 18.

By the way, the ESC offers assistance statewide with what it calls “older worker specialists” in most of its 89 offices. They assist in job placement and referrals as well as resume and interview preparations and looking for job training options.

According to the ESC, it has helped place more than 5,000 “older workers” in new jobs.

National Employ Older Workers Week is not new. It dates back to the Eisenhower Administration. The Skinny should know. Suffice it to say that the Skinny was born in the days of Ike.

Go, seasoned workers! Find that job, that new career. Life expectancy isn’t shrinking.

As for you employers out there, remember – you reap what you sow.