Few older workers were served by Workforce Investment Act adult and dislocated worker programs between Program Years 2004 and 2008

At our request, the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University prepared for Senior Service America, Inc. the following table on the numbers of older workers served in WIA adult and dislocated worker programs. Ishwar Khatiwada and Joseph McLaughlin of the Center updated an earlier analysis published by Katherine Abraham and Susan Houseman in “Removing Barriers to Work for Older Americans,” a chapter of A Future of Good Jobs? America’s Challenge in the Global Economy, Timothy J. Bartik and Susan N. Houseman, W.E. Upjohn Institute, editors (2008).

Khatiwada and McLaughlin found that over the 2004–2008 program years, the relative share of workers 55 and older served by WIA adult and dislocated worker programs increased. In PY 2008, there were nearly 62,000 older workers exiting both programs, representing about 13% of all exiters in these two programs. That 13% share is up from 8.5% in 2004.

However, the key point is that the 62,000 older workers served represents less than 1% of the total SCSEP eligible population. While older workers’ relative share of all those served by WIA has increased, the absolute number served is still small given the size of the 55 and older population.

Older Workers Served in WIA Adult and Dislocated Programs PY 2004 to PY 2008

WIA Adult Programs
PY 2004 PY 2005 PY 2006* PY 2007* PY 2008*
16–64 Year Old Pop. (in 1,000s) 188,748 191,014 193,202 195,639 196,627
Program Exiters Number 241,533 252,065 224,931 227,690 353,932
Percent of Population 0.13% 0.13% 0.12% 0.12% 0.18%
55–64 U.S. Pop. (in 1000s) 28,919 30,165 31,375 32,533 33,491
Program Exiters 55+ Number 14,492 15,628 22,493 25,046 38,579
Percent of 55–64 Population 0.05% 0.05% 0.07% 0.08% 0.12%
As % of All Exiters 6.0% 6.2% 10.0% 11.0% 10.9%
WIA Dislocated Workers
PY 2004 PY 2005 PY 2006 PY 2007 PY 2008
16-64 Year Old Pop. (in 1,000s) 188,748 191,014 193,202 195,639 196,627
Program Exiters Number 163,051 155,526 148,172 125,472 140,120
Percent of Population 0.09% 0.08% 0.08% 0.06% 0.07%
55–64 U.S. Pop. (in 1000s) 28,919 30,165 31,375 32,533 33,491
Program Exiters 55+ Number 20,055 17,574 20,892 20,200 23,400
Percent of 55–64 Population 0.07% 0.06% 0.07% 0.06% 0.07%
As % of All Exiters 12% 11% 14% 16% 17%
WIA Adult and Dislocated Workers Exiters Combined
PY 2004 PY 2005 PY 2006 PY 2007 PY 2008
16-64 Year Old Pop. (in 1,000s) 188,748 191,014 193,202 195,639 196,627
Program Exiters Number 404,584 407,591 373,103 353,162 494,052
Percent of Population 0.21% 0.21% 0.19% 0.18% 0.25%
55–64 U.S. Pop. (in 1000s) 28,919 30,165 31,375 32,533 33,491
Program Exiters 55+ Number 34,547 33,202 43,385 45,247 61,979
Percent of 55–64 Population 0.12% 0.11% 0.14% 0.14% 0.19%
As % of All Exiters 9% 8% 12% 13% 13%

Notes: (*) There was a large increase in adult exiters from PY 2005 to PY 2006: from 252,065 to 624,648 with continued increases in later years. Most of this increase occurred in New York, which increased from 31,990 to 304,083. Most of this increase likely occurred because of changes in practices regarding co-enrollment between WIA and Wagner-Peyser. There are also significant increases in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Mississippi also increased but then declined in subsequent years. We subtracted the New York, Louisiana, and Oklahoma totals from the U.S. total for PY 2006, 2007, and 2008. We applied the percentage of 55 and older adults served in the U.S. to this adjusted number of adults served to estimate the total number of 55 year olds served.

Note: (**) For the dislocated worker programs, only the total served for the state of New York was subtracted from the U.S. New York was the only state to have a large increase in the number of dislocated workers served after 2006 due to change in enrollment practices.