Surprise rise in over-50s who now shun work


Surprise rise in over-50s who now shun work: Bank of England warns number has unexpectedly jumped since the summer

The Bank of England has warned that the number of people over 50 without a job – and not looking for one – has unexpectedly jumped since the summer. 

While the proportion of people aged between 16 and 64 in other countries who were neither working nor actively seeking work fell back after the pandemic, in the UK it has been quietly rising since August. 

The recent increase was mainly accounted for by workers aged between 50 and 65 leaving the workplace and not returning, the Bank said. 

Shunning work: The recent increase was mainly accounted for by workers aged between 50 and 65 leaving the workplace and not returning

The rise partly reflected those leaving work due to long-term sickness, it added. A fifth of inactive workers in that age bracket are thought to be so for that reason, past research has suggested. 

But the Bank said the remainder included ‘those who do not want a job, which may mean high levels of inactivity persist in the near term’. 

This latest update will cause further concern for employers already struggling to fill roles, with more than 1.2million vacancies across the UK according to last month’s figures. 

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since 1974 and inactive workers across all ages represent a growing drag on the economy. 

A report from the Institute for Employment Studies said last month ‘there simply are not enough workers for the jobs available’. 

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade body UK Hospitality, said: ‘There is quite clearly an issue that we don’t have sufficient people in the labour market to fill in gaps across the economy. 

‘This is not a skills shortage. This is a labour shortage.’ 

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