UK Sees Record High Number of Individuals Unable to Work Due to Long-Term Sickness

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the number of people in the UK not working due to long-term health issues has reached a new record. More than two and a half million individuals are currently out of work because of health problems.

Meanwhile, the latest job statistics indicate an increase in part-time and self-employed workers, contributing to a rise in the UK’s employment rate. According to the ONS, the employment rate for the period between January and March stood at 75.9%.

In an interview with the BBC’s Today program, Darren Morgan from the ONS explained that the increase in individuals leaving the labor market due to long-term sickness can be traced back to the pandemic. He highlighted that there are now over 400,000 more people outside of the labor market due to ill health, resulting in a new record level exceeding two and a half million.

The ONS data also revealed a slight rise in the unemployment rate, reaching 3.9% in the January to March period. Additionally, the number of people on employers’ payrolls decreased in April, marking the first decline in over two years. However, the ONS noted that this is an early estimate that may be subject to revision.

Furthermore, the report indicated that vacancies have declined for the 10th consecutive period, with firms holding back on recruitment due to economic uncertainty.

The latest figures also highlighted that wage increases for workers are not keeping pace with rising prices. While regular pay growth (excluding bonuses) reached 6.7% in the first quarter of the year, when factoring in price rises, regular pay actually decreased by 2%, according to the ONS.