Pandemic caused biggest annual employment fall for older workers

28 Apr 2021

Research carried out by the Resolution Foundation has found that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the biggest annual employment reduction for older workers since the 1980s.

In a new report, the Foundation revealed that the pandemic has created 'a U-shaped employment shock', affecting younger and older workers more than those in the middle of the age distribution.

The fall in employment among workers aged 50 to 69 has been twice as big as those aged 25 to 49 (1.4% compared to 0.7%).

The report found that when older workers return to employment following a period of unemployment, they face the highest income hit of all age groups. The Resolution Foundation has urged the government to tailor employment support to the needs of older workers.

Nye Cominetti, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, commented: 'The COVID-19 crisis has had a U-shaped effect on people's employment prospects. While the youngest workers have been hardest hit by the crisis, older workers have also been badly affected, experiencing the biggest annual fall in employment since at least the 1980s.

'The cost of unemployment for older workers is particularly high. They take the longest to return to work – with fewer than two-in-three returning within six months – and experience the biggest earnings fall when they finally to return to work.'

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