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Workers over 40 struggle in job market

Marketplace Staff Oct 27, 2009

Workers over 40 struggle in job market

Marketplace Staff Oct 27, 2009


Stacey Vanek-Smith: A growing proportion of the unemployed in this country — and that’s nearly 10 percent of the population these days — is 40 and over. Tonight on PBS stations, “Frontline” visits a hair salon in New York, where clients talk about what it’s like when you’re trying to find work when you’re over 40. “Frontline” producer Arun Rath reports.

Arun Rath: Deborah Boles has been running her hair salon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for more than 20 years. Her clients are rich bankers, poor actors, and just about everything in-between. Most of them are over 40. She says none of them expected to be struggling financially at this point in their lives.

DEBORAH BOLES: Every day, every one of my clients sit in my chair and talk about the economy.

SCOTT SAMBADE: We lost a deal in Miami, which was not so good.

EMMA NELSON: We don’t have a lot of money. I don’t know how else to put it.

CHRIS CALBI: Last week, I had an unemployment check and two notices of foreclosure from two different banks on my home.

That was Scott Sambade, Emma Nelson, and finally Chris Calbi, who at one time made a fortune selling audio-visual systems to big businesses.

CALBI: I was very successful. I was successful beyond any… anything I had ever imagined actually and had built a company that was close to $100-million-a-year sales company.

Calbi had to sell his business in the early 2000s. He took a lower paying job, and was laid off last year. He’s 58 years old.

Steven Greenberg is the founder of Jobs 4.0. It’s a Web site that helps workers over 40 find employment.

STEVEN GREENBERG: It’s taking older workers about 30 percent longer than younger workers to find a job now. While they have great skills at the job they’ve done over the years, those skills don’t extend to how to find a job.

Greenberg says many face job discrimination, and that’s getting worse as the economy deteriorates.

Chris Calbi says he’s sent out hundreds of resumes, and been on about 10 interviews, but had no luck.

CALBI: Whenever I go for the interviews, they go very well. I always think that I’m going to get the job. And most often, nearly every time, not only don’t I get the job, but I don’t even get a response.

Leaning back in his chair at the salon, Calbi says that like so many people of his age, he barely recognizes the business world anymore.

In Boston, I’m Arun Rath for Marketplace.

Vanek-Smith: “Close to Home” airs on “Frontline” tonight.

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