Older people who become unemployed are more likely to be at risk of long-term unemployment than younger people

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The FINANCIAL, U.K. — While the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been greatest for younger workers, older workers aged 50 years and over have been affected to a greater extent than those in the middle age groups.

In December 2020 to February 2021, those employees aged 50 years and over were more likely to report working fewer hours than usual (including none) in the past week because of the coronavirus than those aged under 50 years, with those aged 65 years and over the most likely to say they had worked reduced hours.

Over a quarter of furloughed employments are people aged 50 years and over (1.3 million), with 3 in 10 of older workers on furlough thinking there is a 50% chance or higher that they will lose their job when the scheme ends.

Older people who become unemployed are more likely to be at risk of long-term unemployment than younger people.

Those aged 50 years and over make up an increasing proportion of the workforce in the UK. Prior to the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in 2019, almost a third of workers were aged 50 years and over.

The pandemic has had a marked impact on the labour market overall and working lives. Having previously explored the impact of the coronavirus on younger workers, in this article we look at its impact on older workers.

Older workers are a very diverse group, in terms of age, sex, working patterns, employment type and industry.

In 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic, 72.3% people aged 50 to 64 years were in employment, 2.0% were unemployed1 and 25.7% were economically inactive. While the proportion of older people in work declines with age, 1 in 10 people aged 65 years and over were still working.

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or workers aged 50 years and over, men are most likely to be working in manufacturing, construction, and wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles, while for older women workers, the most common industries are health and social work, education, and wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles.

The impact of the coronavirus on older workers will have varied according to their different characteristics, leading to different experiences of the pandemic.

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