Amongst the over-65 age group, employment is down a record 161,000 to 1.26m. This represents a massive 11.3% fall.
In the 16 to 24 age group, employment is down 100,000. This is a 2.6% decrease.
Gretchen Betts of Magenta Financial Planning told Financial Planning Today that the Financial Planning firm has seen an increase in the number of clients looking to take early retirement due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Today's figures come after the Telegraph reported that over 100,000 women over 50 have been pushed into retirement due to the pandemic.
Robert Alster, CIO at investment firm Close Brothers Asset Management, said that these unemployment figures are not necessarily a true reflection of the reality of the labour market due to the government furlough scheme.
He said: “Although employment in the UK fell by the greatest amount in over a decade, the reality is that the true effects of Covid-19 are still obscured by the protection of the furlough scheme. As we inch closer to the scheme drawing to a close, employment prospects are looking increasingly uncertain across all sectors, with the Bank of England forecasting a 7.5% unemployment rate in the near future.
"A wave of recent job cuts across the retail and hospitality industries highlights the ongoing impact of the lockdown, as businesses nationwide struggle to battle with the damage wrought by the pandemic. As consumer habits transform and with health policy at the forefront of the Government’s mind, it remains to be seen how the labour market will evolve to adapt to our new way of life. With flexible working now a necessity rather than a privilege, the UK’s productivity puzzle could get even more complex.”
Aegon shared concerns about the lack of special economic measures in place to financial support the over 65s.
Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said: “The latest employment figures from the ONS confirm that it’s the youngest and oldest age groups who are bearing the biggest brunt of job losses as a result of COVID-19. In the 16-24 age group, there are 100,000 fewer in employment than the last quarter, a drop of 2.6%. It’s vital that we create opportunities for those starting their working lives and we hope Rishi Sunak’s kickstart scheme, which is targeted specifically at this age group, will make a big difference.
“However, the decline in employment amongst over 65s is even more stark, having fallen by a record 161,000, or by a staggering 11.3%. The Chancellor has no new initiative for this age group, so for many this will mean being kickstarted out of work and into retirement earlier than they had planned. In recent years we’ve seen an accelerating trend towards people transitioning into retirement, continuing to work after traditional retirement ages often on a part time basis. For some, this is to remain active while for others, with gold plated final salary pensions largely a thing of the past, it’s a financial necessity. Unfortunately, it looks like for many, what they’d hoped would be a gradual transition has turned into a sudden departure from work. This shows how important it is that the Government looks at every age group and considers how best to support them as we tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
“Anyone whose retirement plans have been disrupted by an unexpected loss of employment in later life should consider seeking financial advice to explore their options.”