Stuck in their 50s, older workers in America stay jobless longer and have more trouble rejoining the workforce than their younger counterparts.

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The Federal Labor Department says the unemployed between the ages of 55 and 64 are out of work for an average of 11 months right now, three months longer than 25 to 36-year-olds.

Many of them, laid off or down-sized, do not reconnect with the kind of job they held before, including salary.

"Not only are we losing their contributions to the economy, but they are not earning money to prepare for retirement if they ever get there," said Carl Van Horn of the Rutgers Workforce Development Center.

He says not only does that leave them struggling, but it's also a huge loss of productivity and creativity and value for the economy.

Is Age Discrimination a Factor?

Nearly two-thirds of unemployed workers age 55 and older say they have been actively searching for a job for more than one year, compared to just one-third of younger workers, according to a recent survey by the Heldrich Center found.

Given these circumstances, many workers can't help but think age discrimination is a factor. AARP's Public Policy Institute surveyed unemployed baby boomers in 2010 and 2011.

While 71 percent blamed their unemployment on the bad economy, almost half also said they believed age discrimination was also at play.