Number of older workers tops one million as labour market continues to stagnate

Press Releases

12 Jun 2013

Commenting on today's labour market statistics, IES Director of Research Jim Hillage says:

‘Today's data from the Office of National Statistics show that the labour market continues to stagnate, with a small increase in the number of people in employment and a small fall in unemployment. However, beneath the doldrums, the long-term currents underpinning the labour market are moving and this month sees a further rise in the number of older people in employment that takes the total to over one million for the first time.

‘Unemployment continues to be stuck at around 2.5 million, eight per cent of the labour force. Despite recent signs that the economy is starting to improve, unemployment show no signs of falling significantly in the near future. There is still a lot of slack in the labour market and it is clear that it will be a long time until the jobless total returns to pre-recession levels.

‘Meanwhile, the total number of people in employment continues to reach record levels although the employment rate has actually fallen to 71.5%, again well below pre-recession levels, as the overall population increases. Yet some underlying structural changes in the labour market continue. Significantly, the number of employed people aged 65 or over has reached 1,003,000. While this reflects a welcome willingness among employers to recruit and retain experienced people, it may also reflect the need that some older people have to top up inadequate pension arrangements.’


About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK’s leading independent, not-for-profit centre for research and evidence-based consultancy on employment, the labour market, and HR policy and practice.

About Jim Hillage

Jim Hillage leads the Institute for Employment Studies’ work on UK public employment policy. He draws on over 30 years’ experience of researching into labour market and employment issues from an individual and an employer perspective, and evaluating the direct and indirect effect and impact of a range of policy interventions on employers, individuals and intermediaries.

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