"Amid the layoffs that have become a routine part of corporate downsizing, mergers and outsourcing, there is a growing trend: older executives who can't find new jobs.
Few of these managers ever imagined this could happen to them at what was supposed to be the pinnacle of their careers. But after aggressive job hunts, many former executives discover that even though the economy is picking up, new managerial jobs tend to go to younger workers. Some have responded by starting their own businesses or trying consulting, but others have essentially been forced into early retirement, sometimes many years short of their financial goals."
This is part of the reason I think we will see more older entrepreneurs over the next decade (pointed out here). Not every laid-off executive is cut out to start a business, of course. But some percentage of these displaced knowledge workers and executives will become freelancers or start a business because they feel they have no other options.