March Labour Market Statistics: Comment from the Institute for Employment Studies

IES News

15 Mar 2022

Commenting on the figures, IES Director Tony Wilson said:

“People shouldn’t be fooled by the fall in headline unemployment in today’s figures.  Unemployment is falling because people are leaving the labour force at a worryingly high rate, with one hundred thousand fewer in the labour market than just three months ago.  Older people are leading this exodus, with half a million fewer people aged over 50 in the labour market than two years ago.  This is the largest fall since comparable records began thirty years ago, and is being particularly driven by fewer older women in work.  This is happening in spite of continued record vacancies, and the tightest jobs market for employers in at least fifty years.

“With inflation rising, real pay falling and fewer people in work, we need urgent action at the Budget this month to boost employment and earnings, particularly for older people out of work.  Employers need to step up too, and make sure that jobs are advertised and designed in ways that are accessible and inclusive for older people.  Separate analysis published this week shows that more the vast majority of those older people who have left work are not on state benefits and are relying on their own savings or family to get by.  So we also need to ensure that employment support is open to all older people out of work, not just those on Universal Credit or other benefits.”

Read the detailed IES Labour Market Statistics briefing note here