The following letter was written by Theodore A. Farley, Jr of Geneva. It was published in the Finger Lakes Times o Sunday, February 16. We are publishing it with the permission of the author.
As our nation and Congress continue to struggle with the bleak reality of unemployment, one begins to wonder is there a real solution? I believe there is but it does not lie in the hands of government; it relies on employers doing the right thing.
One basic truth remains constant in our economy. If people have money to spend then the economy will get stronger. I am no economist nor would I debate with one. We hear grumblings that there are not qualified individuals to fill vacant positions. I think that is a smoke screen to much larger problem. Employers do not want to hire individuals that are over 45.
I have some interesting statistics that may sway opinions one way or another. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 the median number of years that an employee has been with their current employer is 4.6 years. Median employee tenure for individuals 65 and older is 10.3 years. Median employee tenure for individuals 25 to 34 is a paltry 3.2 years. When employers bring in candidates for open positions it is a well-known fact that they are looking for someone who is younger and will be with the company a longer period of time. What they don’t realize is that is unlikely to be the case. External factors are likely to cause them to be with the company the shortest amount of time based on their age group. It is more likely for an older worker to be with the company a longer period of time. I attribute that to having less external pressures that will affect their employment.
Republicans state that people have just stopped looking for work and we should not reinstate unemployment benefits. Maybe it is wealth or entitlement that clouds their judgment in this matter. The average age of the House is 57 years and the average age of the Senate is 63 years of age. If these individuals were not politicians and actively looking for employment they would not have a very pleasant experience. If someone is 61 years of age and is actively looking to work for another 5 years they will give employers more years of service than someone 25 to 34. Although older workers may lack a little in terms of technology they make that up with experience.
I am not unemployed, although I do have a selfish interest at stake. My father is and has been actively looking for work. As I grew up I knew he loved being a Machinist as he was one of those people who couldn’t wait until Monday (yuck). As a teenager I stated I would never grow up and be like my father. Nothing would make me prouder than to be exactly like him, as he refuses to give up even in the face of great adversity. He has already lost his house due to the 2007 recession and I am always trying to listen for potential opportunities for him.
So to all the employers out there I implore you to do something truly American and put an older individual back to work. I know my father has had several interviews since November in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes area. Give the man a chance to fight. I know you will be pleasantly surprised. Let’s fight for ourselves because our government refuses to.
Theodore A Farley Jr