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Experts Say Poor Health is Keeping U.K. Residents from Working

— June 7, 2023

The pandemic has caused many people in the U.K. to be out of work.

The number of U.K. residents not working due to long-term health issues has reached a new high. According to official figures, this results from the cumulative effect of ongoing sickness related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics recently released data showing that over 2.25 million U.K. residents are unable to work due to health issues, which is over 6% of the country’s working population. It blamed an increase in mental health problems in the younger generations, as well as people suffering from neck and back pain, for the increase in household responsibilities and remote work.

Out of every 13 employed people, one is dealing with long-term sickness. The agency claimed that the coronavirus pandemic is a highly likely cause for the spike in the cases of these long-term sicknesses over the last three years, including those struggling with COVID-19 symptoms like post-viral fatigue.

The monthly labor market statistics from ONS found that the unemployment rate in Britain increased significantly from 3.8% in February to 3.9% in March, whereas vaccines declined to their lowest low over 18 months during the economic uncertainty of rising interest rates and high inflation.

Experts Say Poor Health is Keeping U.K. Residents from Working
Photo by anna Shvets from Pexels

The Bank of England increased its threshold rate for the twelfth time consecutively to 4.5%, a number that is at its highest since 2008. Many economists are advising the bank to pull back so it does not indirectly drive the country’s economy into a slump. The statistics also demonstrated that living standards continue to decline as wages fall and are unable to compensate for the rising price levels. Once the existing inflation rate was considered, it was discovered that real pay after subtracting bonuses was down by 3.1%.

The government of the U.K. has plans to get these non-working people back to their jobs in order to boost the economy. It plans to do this by changing the rules around universal credit and health-related benefits, which will help address the worker supply shortage. The stats and figures also showed:

  •       The rate of employment edged around 75.9% from January to March, helped by more self-employed workers and part-time employees.
  •       The rate of unemployment also increased a little to 3.9%.
  •       The number of people who are on employers’ payrolls declined in April, marking the first decrease in over two years.
  •       The number of job vacancies decreased for the tenth period in a row, even though there are still over one million unfilled job posts.
  •       The number of working days hindered by strikes increased to 556,000 in March of 2023, largely due to pickets and walkouts in the education and health sectors.

Jonathan Ashworth, pensions and shadow work secretary, said the government was a “drag” on the current economy, with family finances being decreased to a breaking point due to a further decline in real wages. How all this will impact the pay growth levels and unemployment rate in the upcoming months will be determined by policymakers, who are seriously worried looking at U.K. citizens’ current economic and health situation.


Labour market overview, UK: May 2023

Coronavirus and the effects on UK labour

Record numbers not working due to ill health

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