There's probably never a good time to be laid off, unless you've been secretly itching to get out of a job for a while and just couldn't bring yourself to make the break. With a layoff, not only does your employer take the decision to leave off your shoulders, but you'll likely get a severance, unemployment pay and maybe even some assistance finding a new job. That's the best-case scenario.
One of the worst cases involves older workers who are likely to find themselves competing against young pups in the job market. That's especially true in the tech field, which has a pretty strong bias against older workers.
TechRepublic's Toni Bowers offers some good suggestions for older IT pros who find themselves (unexpectedly or not) hunting for a new job.
I quoted Duke University researcher Vivek Wadhwa in my post on age bias in the tech industry. He wrote:
The harsh reality is that as engineers progress in their careers, they need to stay current in new technologies and become project managers, designers, or architects. To keep their jobs, engineers need to build skills that are more valuable to companies and take positions that can't be filled by entry-level workers.