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News

More job losses among older people than first thought amid pandemic
Release time: 2021-01-14 10:51:05  Hits: 65

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A Royal Mail postal worker walks past a pub in York as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, York, Britain, March 31, 2020.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has created a larger rise in unemployment among older people in the United Kingdom than among any other age group.

The startling revelation, which runs contrary to the previously accepted idea that the virus has been particularly hard on young workers, follows analysis of Office for National Statistics data conducted by Rest Less, an online employment site.

The study found the number of unemployed people in the UK aged at least 50 had increased by a third during the past year, compared to a rise of 24 percent across the entire working-age population.

The website said the total number of unemployed people in the UK aged 24 or less is larger than the total number of people aged 50 or older who are without work, but the change over time in those populations has been more dramatic among the over 50s.

The site claims the increase in the number of unemployed people was 25 percent for those aged 18 to 24, 28 percent for those aged 25 to 34, 19 percent for those aged 35 to 49, and 33 percent for the over 50s.

The Guardian newspaper quoted Stuart Lewis, the founder of Rest Less, as saying: "There is no doubt that we are facing a youth employment crisis right now but less well documented is the fact that we are also facing a long-term unemployment disaster among older workers."

John Philpott, a former director of the Employment Policy Institute think tank, told the Guardian: "The popular view that the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the young far harder when it comes to jobs does not tell the entire story. With the level of job vacancies far below the pre-pandemic high, jobseekers of every age are struggling to find work and endemic age discrimination is making it doubly difficult for unemployed people aged over 50."

Separate research from the London-based non-profit Centre for Ageing Better and the independent research organization the Learning and Work Institute found that around 377,000 older workers will be at especially high risk of losing their jobs when the government's furlough program ends in March.

And things are likely to remain difficult for vulnerable workers for some time as the economy continues to struggle, according to Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England.

Haldane said on Monday during a conference for charities organized by Civil Society Media that the pandemic will leave a legacy of not only unemployment, but high debt, missed educations, and mental health problems.

"The vaccine announcements of the past few weeks offer hope at the end of the tunnel," the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. "Nonetheless, even with a vaccine, it's clear this crisis will lead to some lasting scars, particularly on the poorest and the most disadvantaged.

"But he said around two-thirds of the economic loss that followed the imposition of the nation's first lockdown earlier this year has now been recouped.

"I think it's now reasonable and realistic to speak of next year as turning a leaf for us economically," he added.

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