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Latest ONS figures show a rise in over 50’s in work and in self employment.
Employment fell slightly in the last quarter, but unemployment stands at a record low of 3.8%, with more employment for women a big factor, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The latest March-May figures show a big rise in women in the workforce, with fewer women retiring, in part due to the rise in the State Pension age, and fewer being stay at home parents.
The number of women under 65 years who are retiring from the labour force has fallen by 217,000 in the last five years and the number looking after the family or home is down by 259,000.
The number of hours worked by women is also on the increase.
The ONS says more than half of the annual increase in the number of people in work occurred among those aged from 50 to 64 years. The second biggest growth was in people aged over 65.
The figures also show a rise in self employment after a lull in recent months. There are 188,000 more employed people than a year earlier and 167,000 more self employed people, many of them part time, with growth in self-employment outstripping employment in recent months.
The ONS says total pay adjusted for inflation is estimated to have increased by 1.4% compared with a year earlier, and regular pay is estimated to have increased by 1.7%.
Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “Beneath the surface, today’s numbers highlight some big changes in employment trends – with two things in particular standing out.
“First, the recent growth in self-employment in the last three months has far outstripped the growth in employment overall – with self-employment up by 120 thousand to a new record level of 4.96 million. This has been rising strongly over the last two decades and particularly since the recession, but had been fairly flat (around 4.8 million) since 2016…More work is needed to understand what is driving the recent increases, and how we support more self-employed workers to increase their incomes, security and independence.
“Secondly, in a neat symmetry, employment has risen by 85 thousand among older people (over-50s) in the last three months while it’s fallen by the same amount among those aged 16-24. The growth in older people working has been driven in particular by those over 65, with employment up by nearly 50 thousand to 1.33 million. I talked last month about the opportunities of our older workforce but also about how our research is showing that the world of work needs to adapt better to reflect these changes. Today’s figures reiterate that it’s this ageing of our workforce, much more than the future risks of automation, that policy makers and employers should be focusing on.”