Economic inactivity hits record high amongst men aged over 50

Economic inactivity levels amongst men aged 50-64 in December 2021 to February 2022 were the highest since records began, according to new analysis from Rest Less. The firms analysed labour market data from the Office of National Statistics and found that economic inactivity levels amongst men aged 50-64 reached 1.47 million in the latest official figures – the highest they have ever been since records began in 1992. The economic inactivity rate amongst this demographic reached a nine-year high and is now at 23.1 percent.

Since the pandemic began two years ago, there are now 179,000 additional men aged 50-64 who have left the jobs market entirely. Whilst there are now more than 609,000 additional people aged over 50 who have left the workforce entirely over the past two years, other official data suggests that the ‘Great Retirement’ may only be temporary.

The firm also analysed new research from the Office of National Statistics – the Over 50s Lifestyle Study – which was issued on 14 March and which surveyed nearly 14,000 adults aged between 50 and 70 in early February this year.

It found that 22 percent of all respondents who had left the workforce since the pandemic would not rule out returning to work or self-employment. The figure rises to 31 percent for respondents aged under State Pension Age (currently age 66). There is also a notable difference between men and women. One in four (25 percent) male respondents said they would consider returning to employment compared with 19 percent of women.