American employers are finding advantages to the low-cost, temporary labor of older workers. These are transient older Americans, people who aren't able to make ends meet on social security alone, many of whom are casualties of the housing crisis and the Great Recession. Taking to the roads in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, these migrant laborers call themselves “workampers” and can be found picking produce, cleaning campgrounds, and filling boxes at Amazon. In Nomadland, author Jessica Bruder, a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, follows them and narrates this tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—and the precarious future that may await many of us.
Bruder will be joined in conversation with Margaret Talbot, New Yorker staff writer and author of The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father’s Twentieth Century.