Saga employment indices for OctoberWednesday 14 October 2015
October's employment figures show that the number of people in work is at a record high with Saga's monthly employment indices showing that there continues to be more over 50s who remain economically active.
Saga employment indices for October
- The UK-wide unemployment rate (for persons aged 16 and over) fell for the second consecutive reading, down to 5.4% between June – August 2015 compared with the 5.5% recorded in the three months to July.
- However, the unemployment rate for those aged 50-64 once again rose slightly to 3.6%, up from 3.5% in the previous reading.
- Figure 1 illustrates that the contribution of the over 50s to the job market has been steadily rising. Over the past five years, the total number of workers in the UK has grown by 6.1%, with employment for the over 50s rising faster than for younger workers. Over this time, the number of workers aged:
- 65 or older has risen from 855,000 in the three months to July 2010 to 1.16 million over June – August 2015, a very pronounced rise of 35.2% or 301,000 employees.
- 50-64 has risen from 7.36 million in June 2010 to 8.26 million over June – August 2015, an increase of 12.3% or 902,000 employees.
- 16-49 has increased by 2.7% or 580,000 employees, from 21.13 million to 21.71 million.
- The number of workers who are 50 or older has been rising steadily. Five years ago, some 8.21 million UK workers were 50 or older in the three months to August 2010. That figure had risen to 9.41 million over the three months to August 2015.
- Figure 2 illustrates that the over 50s’ share of UK employment is continuing to rise. Over the three months to August 2015, we calculate that:
- 69.8% of all employed people were 49 or younger, down from 70.2% one year previously.
- 26.5% of all employed people were in the 50-64 age bracket, up from 26.2% one year earlier.
- 3.7% of all employed people were 65 or older, up from 3.6% 12 months before.
- Employment is not a zero-sum game and the over 50s have not been squeezing young people out of the job market. The number of employed over 50s is far lower than the number of employed 16-49-year-olds. Over June – August 2015, there were 8.26 million employed 50-64-year-olds, versus 8.06 million one year earlier. This compares to 21.71 million employed 16-49-year-olds over June – August 2015, versus 21.59 million over the same period in 2014.
Figure 3 shows that economic activity amongst 50-64-year-olds has been gradually trending upward compared to economic activity amongst 18-24-year-olds, which has been generally flat. The economic activity rate amongst 50-64-year-olds is now above that of 18-24-year-olds. Over the three months to August 2015, we calculate that:
- 71.9% of 50-64-year-olds were economically active.
- This was above the 71.0% economic activity rate of people aged 18-24.
- 85.3% of those in the 25-34 age bracket were economically active.
- 86.4% of those in the 35-49 age bracket were economically active.
Alongside the fall in the overall unemployment rate, the total number of people classed as long-term unemployed in the UK has dropped over the last 12 months to 526,000 in the three months to August 2015, a fall of 185,000 people from the same period a year ago.
- However, the share of unemployed workers classed as long-term unemployed remains higher in the over 50’s age group. Over the three months to August 2015, we calculate that:
- 39.4% of unemployed 50-64 year-olds were classed as long-term unemployed.
- 27.4% of unemployed workers in the 16-49 age bracket were classed as long-term unemployed.
- Further the rate at which people have moved out of long-term unemployment and into work over the past 12 months has been slower for the over 50s. The number of over 50s who have been unemployed for over 12 months fell by 20.7% in the year to the three months to August 2015. This compares with a fall of 27.6% in the number of people aged 16-49 and in long term unemployment.
- It’s good to see that the overall picture of long term unemployment is looking brighter than it has in recent years. However, the analysis suggests that more could be done to help the many over 50s who find themselves out of work and, at an older age, appear to find it harder to get back into employment.
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