Employment figures good news for all ages

Monday 1 January 0001

Employment figures good news for all ages

Saga Employment Report for January 2017

Lisa Harris, head of communications for Saga said “Being able to continue in work and feel that you’re making a valuable social and economic contribution to society is incredibly important for almost all of us, and this does not change just because you get older.

“Today’s employment figures aren’t just great for older workers who are remaining in the labour market at an unprecedented rate; it’s also great for workers of all ages. Evidence from independent economists for Saga, is that spending by the over 50s has been a key factor in the UK economic recovery and that their spending is significantly more effective in creating jobs for the young.”

Key points:

  • The rate of unemployment across the UK stood at 4.8% from September to November, unchanged from the three months to October and the joint-lowest rate since 2005.
  • The unemployment rate from September to November is down 0.3 percentage points from the 5.1% recorded in the same period a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate in the months to November for those aged 50-64 stood at 3.3% in the three, down 0.2 percentage points from the 3.5% recorded in the same period a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate has been on a gradual downward trend for around a year and half, having last risen in the three months to May 2015.
  • From September to November, the total number of people in work increased by 40,000 to 31.8 million compared to the previous month.
  • Figure 1 illustrates that the contribution of the over 50s to the job market has been rising steadily. Over the past five years, the total number of people in employment in the UK has grown by 8.6%, 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 892,000 in the three months to November 2011 to 1.22 million in the same period of 2016, a large and significant rise of 36.4% or 325,000 employees.
    • 50-64 has risen from 7.47 million in the three months to November 2011 to 8.63 million in the three months to November 2016, an increase of 15.6% or around 1.16 million employees.
    • 16-49 has increased by 4.7% or 962,000 employees, from 20.96 million to 21.95 million.
  • The number of workers who are 50 or older has been rising steadily. In the three months to November 2011, some 8.36 million UK workers were 50 or older. That figure had risen to 9.85 million in the three months to November 2016.
  • Figure 2 illustrates that the over 50s’ share of total UK employment is continuing to rise. Over the course of the three months to November 2016, we calculate that:
    • 69.0% of all employed people were 49 or younger, down from 69.5% a year ago.
    • 27.1% of all employed people were in the 50-64 age bracket, up from 26.7% one year earlier.
    • 3.8% of all employed people were 65 or older, unchanged from 3.8% 12 months earlier.
  • Employment is not a zero-sum game, thus the increase in of over 50s in the employment does not squeeze younger people out of the job market.
  • Figure 3 shows long-term unemployment for different age brackets, showing that the share of jobless people who are long-term unemployed[1] has fallen significantly over the past year from 29.1% to 25.4% in the three months to November 2016, a fall of 3.7 percentage points from a year earlier.
  • This decline has been driven both by falling long-term unemployment for those aged 16-49 and those aged over 50.
  • The share of unemployed over 50s who are long-term unemployed has fallen over the past year from 41.6% to 38.0% in the three months to November 2016, with the total number of long-term unemployed over 50s falling from to 118,000 in the three months to November compared to 136,000 a year earlier.
  • For those aged 16-49, long-term unemployment has also fallen, from 26.1% to 22.3% over the same time-frame. The total number of long-term unemployed 16-49-year-olds fell from 354,000 to 289,000 over this time-frame.
  • This shows that, in the three months to November, unemployment for both younger and older workers tended to be shorter than it was a year earlier, indicating people are finding it easier to return to the job market.

  • Also promisingly, Figure 4 shows that economic activity[2] amongst 50-64-year-olds has been gradually trending upward over the past five years.
  • In contrast, economic activity amongst 18-24-year-olds has been generally flat. The economic activity rate amongst 50-64-year-olds is now noticeably above that of 18-24-year-olds.
  • Over the three months to November 2016, we calculate that:
    • 73.2% of 50-64-year-olds were economically active.
    • This was significantly above the 70.6% economic activity rate of people aged 18-24.
    • 86% of those in the 25-34 age bracket were economically active.
    • 86.5% of those in the 35-49 age bracket were economically active.
    • 10.7% of those in the 65 or older age bracket were economically active.
  • Although lower than that of other age brackets, the economic activity rate of over 65s is historically high. The rising economic activity rate of the over 65s reflects a falling number of citizens considered inactive due to retirement.
Ends

ENDS




[1] Those classed as long-term unemployed have been unemployed for one year or more.

[2] A person is classified as economically active if they are in employment; defined as a people who did some paid work in the reference week; those who had a job that they were temporarily away from (eg, on holiday); those on government-supported training and employment programmes, or unemployed; defined as those people without a job who were available to start work in the two weeks following their interview and who had either looked for work in the four weeks prior to interview or were waiting to start a job they had already obtained.

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