In response to today’s release of ONS labour market statistics Madison Kerr, Economist at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“At this test-case moment for the UK economy, 8.8 million people are now economically inactive, up 5.5% since the pandemic began. Businesses wanting to fill long-standing vacancies should be looking at this group of people as an untapped seam, particularly as some of those who took a risk on early retirement during the pandemic may now find themselves struggling to weather the rising cost of living. 50-65 year olds make up 61% of those who have become economically inactive over the Covid period.

As this rise in economic inactivity is driven by both temporary and long-term sickness, particularly amongst men, tackling it requires sophisticated support. Across the country, there are dozens of charities like Men’s Sheds and Mental Health Matters which specialise in employability support for those with mental ill health. The insights these charities hold should be at the heart of any plan for bringing those who are economically inactive off the bench.” 

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