“Britain needs you”. The message to over 50’s from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last month.
Although employment has increased and a record number of economically inactive have returned to the workforce, the current employment rate in the UK is still significantly lower than pre-pandemic. The UK employment rate was estimated to be 75.6%, which is 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period and 0.9 percentage points lower than the same period before the pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020).
The Chancellor is urging people to return to work as many retired early during the Covid19 pandemic. The UK saw a surge in the number of people classified as ‘economically inactive’. According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), it is believed that the Covid19 pandemic resulted in approximately 400,000 more people being classed as ‘economically inactive’ in comparison to before the virus hit. This was primarily seen in people aged 50 and over.
Mr. Hunt made a promise to anyone looking to get back to work, that the government would make it worth their while. In the recent Spring Budget, they have set out how they are planning to encourage people to re-enter the workforce.
However, some people who previously retired during the Covid19 pandemic, have been trying to return to work at least part-time due to the cost-of-living crisis – this return to the workforce has commonly been named ‘The Great Unretirement’.