Back to work: UK workforce grows with the cost of living

Economically inactive groups are being driven back into the employment pool in the UK as the cost-of-living crisis forces people to re-evaluate their circumstances

Has the tide begun to turn on inactive workers returning to the job market in the UK?

Research by the Office of National Statistics, the BBC reports, indicates that between July and December 2022 a record number of people made their first steps into work or returned to the job market. This shift has primarily been driven by two distinct age groups – those between 16 and 24 and those between 50 and 64.

These age groups are likely to be young people in school or studying who are taking up more work to fund their studies, and those who retired or stopped working in the pandemic due to ill health but who are now returning to the jobs market in search of some extra financial security.

The great unretirement

This trend is being referred to as  the ‘great unretirement’ and was a predicted side-effect of the cost of living crisis in the last few months. With the cost of living increasing exponentially and people struggling to pay their bills, any work can be a positive for people struggling to support themselves.

Additionally, there has been a rise in part-time working, suggesting that people are still craving the flexibility and free time that they anticipated on their retirement but recognise the need to supplement their income where they can.

To what extent this trend will continue remains to be seen, but the UK workforce will continue to swell in the current economic climate.

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