- 107,372 more 50-64 year olds were economically inactive in July-September 2021 due to sickness, than compared with the same period two years ago
- The number of 50-64 year olds who were economically inactive due to long-term sickness increased by 86,000 (7%) and due to temporary sickness by 22,000 (36%) in two years (July-September 2021 vs July-September 2019)
- In July-September 2021, despite not currently looking for work, or working, 508,000 economically inactive 50-64 year olds still said they wanted a job
The number of economically inactive 50-64 year olds reached 3.5 million in July-September this year and 1.3 million (38%) of them said they are not actively looking for work due to sickness, according to Rest Less, an online community and advocate for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
Rest Less’s analysis of bespoke data from the Office of National Statistics shows that in July to September this year, there were 207,000 more 50-64 year olds who were economically inactive than the same period two years ago – a 6% increase.
The most common reason given for economic inactivity in July-September this year was long-term sickness. Of the 3.5 million economically inactive people aged between 50-64, 1.24 million said they weren’t working because of long-term sickness (up by 86,000 – 7% – compared with July-September 2019) and 82,000 said it was because of temporary sickness (up by 22,000 – 36% – compared with July-September 2019).
Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “Economic inactivity levels amongst those in their 50s and 60s have surged since before the pandemic in large part due to poor health. In July to September this year, more than 1.3 million people aged between 50 and 64 were not actively working, or looking for work due to long or short-term sickness – an increase of more than 100,000 since before the pandemic.
“At a time when the economy is suffering from widespread labour shortages, of particular note to employers should be that more than 500,000 of the 3.5 million economically inactive people in this age group still said they wanted a job.
“Investment in flexible working policies and practices that offer people meaningful work on terms that work for them, is long overdue and will help support a large, talented but previously overlooked portion of society back into the workforce. Flexible working does not just mean remote working. Instead it encompasses flexible working patterns, management by objectives (not hours worked), as well as the location from which you work. In response to its consultation on flexible working, we hope to see the Government make legislative changes enshrining the importance of flexible working for everyone. This will give many more people access to a jobs market from which they’ve previously felt shut out of.”
Notes to Editors
*This is based on a bespoke data set from the ONS requested by Rest Less in November 2021 and is based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the Labour Force Survey
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About Rest Less
Rest Less (restless.co.uk) launched in early 2019 and is a digital community for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Rest Less is on a mission to help its members get more out of life and offers content guidance and resources on topics spanning Jobs and Careers, Volunteering, Learning, Money, Health and Lifestyle and Dating.