Jansev Jemal, Director of Research and Policy at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“These latest figures show signs that the market is cooling, with vacancies down, redundancies rising and increased unemployment. Economic inactivity remains elevated by historical standards, however it appears that mounting financial pressures are prompting some back into the labour market.

“Over the last quarter, there were around 67,000 fewer economically inactive individuals aged 50-64, while those inactive due to long-term ill health fell by around 52,000 over the same period. Nevertheless, with the NHS facing unprecedented pressures, many of those out of work due to ill health will find it especially challenging to return.

“There are charities across the UK specialising in the employability support that is needed to help those with health problems back into the workplace. However, across the sector, PBE polling shows charities are facing huge pressures of their own – with nearly half of charities (49%) expecting they will struggle to fully meet demand in the coming months.

“There is an opportunity for policymakers to engage with this network of charities with specialist expertise to design a programme aimed at increasing participation in the workplace. And at the same time, charitable foundations and other major funders must also step in to ensure that the social sector has the resources it needs to help the country navigate the difficult months ahead.”