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No recession for older workers

The last ten years has seen an increasing number of people aged 65 and over remaining in work, and is true of both full-time and part-time employment, according to a study recently published by the Office for National Statistics.

Looking at the three months from October to December 2010, 2.7% of those aged 65 and over (270,000) worked full time, up from 1.2% (106,000) in the quarter to March 2001. In addition, 6.1% (600,000) worked part-time, up from 3.4% (306,000) over the same two periods.

This total of 870,000 workers aged 65 and over made up 3.0% of all workers in October to December 2010, with this percentage having doubled over the past ten years. The recent changes can be seen in the Figure below.

Older people in full-time and part-time employment, 1995-2010. Source: ONS

What is also very interesting is that older workers were largely unscathed by the recent recession. When comparing the January to March 2008 quarter, which was the last quarter before the recession, with the October to December 2010 quarter, the full-time employment rate fell by 7.4 percentage points for those aged 16 to 24, but rose by 0.5 percentage points for those aged 65 and over. On top of this, full-time employment rates fell by 2.6 percentage points for those aged 25 to 49, and 0.9 percentage points for those aged 50 to 64.

The statistics show that that in the last quarter of last year, 83% of those aged 65 and over had been working in the same job for five years or more. This seems to show that these employees were particularly valued by their firms, and perhaps they were held on to because of their skill values. On the other hand, it might have cost too much to make them redundant!!

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Posted in Employment, unemployment

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