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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Top 10 Cities for Older Job-Hunters

By Emily Brandon
Posted: January 22, 2009

As retirement accounts continue to hemorrhage money, many baby boomers are coming to the realization that they'll need to continue working into their traditional retirement years. In fact, a whopping 70 percent of Americans ages 45 to 74 plan to work in retirement—both for enjoyment and because they need the income, according to a recent AARP survey.

But jobs aren't easy to come by right now, especially for workers who are middle age or older. In December alone, U.S. employers shed 524,000 jobs. According to a separate AARP survey, 31 percent of employed adults age 45 and older think it's likely that their job will be eliminated in 2009. It will be challenging but not impossible for these adults to find a new job. "Just because the overall numbers are down, that doesn't mean no one's hiring," says Steven Greenberg, founder and chief executive of Jobs4Point0.com, a job search website for those age 40 and older. "There are jobs to be had, and they are looking for people with experience."

It helps if you pick a retirement spot where the economy is strong, the cost of living is reasonable, and employers are hiring. "Industries that were great a year and a half or two ago are now struggling," says Bob Skladany, vice president of research for RetirementJobs.com. "The recessionproof industries are the ones where people find jobs when times are tough: healthcare, higher education, government, retail, transportation, and utilities or energy."

U.S. News recently consulted RetirementJobs.com to determine the best cities for retirement-age job seekers. The analysis took into account employment growth, the unemployment rate, housing costs, the cost of living, and proximity to high-quality healthcare. Other factors: the prevalence of job opportunities in industries that tend to welcome older workers, such as healthcare, higher education, government, and service-industry jobs.

[Create a customized list of Best Places to Retire using this search tool.]

Cities with well-diversified economies are thriving despite the recession. More than 145 companies are headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., including well-known names like Expedia, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and drugstore.com. The area, which includes nearby cities Seattle and Tacoma, added 19,900 jobs in the past year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Oklahoma City, Okla., earned bragging rights in November 2008 when it tied with Washington, D.C., as the city with the lowest jobless rate in the country. But the cost of living is far lower in Oklahoma than in D.C., making it a better spot for retirees looking to cut expenses. Although it was founded as an oil town, Oklahoma City today boasts an economy that also includes information technology, healthcare services, and the restaurant chain Sonic.

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