Unemployment: Companies Cut Pricey Older Workers

"The pattern has been going on for a while now," she said. "The costs of health care have something to do with it, but it's not the major issue. Usually [older workers] are higher paid and get regular increases. Their pensions are more expensive because they are vested."

Those who work with company recruiters say they are also seeing this restructuring trend.

Jobs for Qualified Young People

"There are still budgets to hire a limited number of college students," said Sean O'Grady, executive producer of CareerTV USA, a Philadelphia broadcaster that provides online services to hundreds of colleges around the country.

"Companies are using the recession to restructure their work force and they need to bring in new employees to fill these voids," O'Grady told ABCNews.com.

"No one directly says person X is taking person Y's job, but the layoffs are happening and a select number of the most qualified college students who are ready to hit the ground running are still finding opportunities," he said.

But according to a 2006 study commissioned by AARP, additional health care costs associated with older workers are "far offset by institutional knowledge, loyalty and other positive factors," taking into consideration the training of new workers.

Age and Cost Handicaps

After 25 years in the financial field, Stuart Floyd of Succasuuna, N.J., soon faces a lay-off as a project manager at a major global bank.

He said he "knows for a fact" that his job is being outsourced to India. Even at 43, he is worried that he won't find comparable work.

"It's my age as well as the cost," he told ABCNews.com. "The key issues are the health costs, but much more comes into play. ... It's mostly the age, even though I can't prove it.

"It hurts, especially when you are doing good work and you are told your work is positive," said Floyd, who is responsible for his 80-year-old mother and two brothers. "There are 500 of me looking for the same job and they can find someone younger and pay them a lot less."

Other ABCNews.com readers wrote on our comment boards that so-called "age-ism" had affected them.

"It's just plain and simple," said Brenda Davis of Hermitage, Tenn., who worked for the Nashville Jet Center before it closed down last year and has been unable to find work since.

'No One Wants to Hire Old Lady'

"I was making $900 a week, longtime employee, but even looking at a lower salary, I have only had three interviews. It is just plain and simple, no one wants to hire a 63-year-old lady so close to retirement. As a single parent for 41 years, I have taken care of everyone, done all I could to keep going, and now I am going, out the door."

"The older you are the harder it is to find work," said Catherine Dickinson of San Diego, Calif., who is a contract worker for a large company. "Most employers are youth-oriented."

"But now there are thousands of lay-offs so it's harder to say I was selected because of my age," she said.

But recruiters in the creative industry say talent is age-blind.

"We're not really seeing as much of an age bias as a skill-set bias," said Allison Hemming, founder of The Hired Guns, a New York City agency. "We are seeing a lot of 'talent upgrades' happening, meaning our clients are being strategic and are replacing underperformers with A-players."

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