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Dropouts: Discouraged Americans Leave Labor Force

Many older Americans who lost their jobs are finding refuge in Social Security's disability program. Nearly 8.9 million Americans are receiving disability checks, up 1.3 million from when the recession ended in June 2009.

Natasha Baebler's journey out of the labor force and onto the disability rolls began when she lost her job serving disabled students and staff members at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in February 2012.

For six months, she sought jobs in her field, brandishing master's degrees in social education and counseling. No luck.

Then she just started looking for anything. Still, she had no takers.

"I chose to stop and take a step back for a while ... After you've seen that amount of rejection," she says, "you start thinking, 'What's going to make this time any different?' "


Washington reported from Pittsburgh. AP Business Writers Christopher S. Rugaber and Scott Mayerowitz contributed from Washington.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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