Recent figures show more than 1 in 5 adults not actively seeking work.
Charlie Bennett
March 13, 2024

Recent figures have revealed that more than a fifth of UK adults are not actively seeking employment. According to official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s economic inactivity rate stood at 21.8% between November and January, slightly higher than the previous year.

There are 9.2 Million people aged between 16 and 64 who are neither employed nor actively searching for work. The pandemic’s impact has exacerbated this situation, resulting in an increase of over 700,000 individuals compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Factors Contributing to Economic Inactivity

  1. Long-Term Illness: Approximately one-third of the working-age population cited long-term illness as the primary reason for their economic inactivity. These individuals are not part of the labor force due to health-related challenges.
  2. Gender Disparities: Women are disproportionately classified as economically inactive compared to men.

Insights from the ONS

  • Positive Trends: The ONS reported a recent decline in the number of people inactive due to illness, indicating potential improvements in health conditions. However, these figures remain higher than estimates from a year ago.
  • Age Groups: While the number of economically inactive individuals aged 35 to 64 decreased, there was a concerning rise among those aged 16 to 34. Young adults in their early twenties faced higher rates of economic inactivity due to health issues, including mental health challenges
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