Record numbers of people out of work due to sickness

Date : 18 May 2023

The UK employment rate remains relatively strong, despite high inflation and weak growth. There are now a record number of people who are economically inactive due to ill health.

The latest data from ONS shows that the employment rate continued to rise in the period from January 2023 to March 2023, reaching 75.9%. The slight increase in the employment rate was driven by an increase in the number of part time employees and self-employed workers.

The employment rate is now 0.7% below the pre-COVID rate of 76.6%.

Unemployment rose slightly to 3.9% for January to March, but the number of redundancies continue to fall.

Vacancies have fallen to below 1.1 million for the first time since July 2021. Vacancies are now well below the peak of 1.3 million at this time last year.

The number of economically inactive adults continues to fall, as it has since July 2022. This is primarily driven by the movement of 16–24-year-olds moving into the labour market.

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The number of people economically inactive due to sickness has now reached its highest level on record. There are now more than 2.5 million people economically inactive due to long term sickness. This compares to 2.1 million in the period January to March 2020.

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