PRIME Cymru, Wales’s only charity dedicated to providing support for mature individuals who are economically inactive or unemployed, find the latest unemployment figures very worrying.
The unemployment rate for people over 50 in Wales has risen to 2.6%, according to latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Rates of economic inactivity in Wales are also up to 22.9%.
This pattern is reflected throughout the UK, with unemployment figures at their highest in the last two years. In addition, figures obtained by the BBC have found that employers are planning more than twice the redundancies than they did in the last recession.
These troubling figures demonstrate the huge impact that the pandemic has had on those who are over 50. Not only is this age group more at risk of becoming seriously ill from Coronavirus, their jobs and livelihoods are also in jeopardy.
David Pugh, Chief Executive of PRIME Cymru, said: “It’s alarming because so many workers who are over 50 have been forced into an early retirement. Valuable knowledge and skills are going to waste, simply down to age discrimination.
“The worrying thing is that these figures do not even reflect the huge number of people who still count as employed but are not actually working, for example people with zero-hour contracts who are not getting shifts at the moment. In addition, the furlough scheme is coming to an end, which affects millions of over 50s.
“In Wales, economic inactivity is already a critical problem, with a large number depending on benefits. Here at PRIME Cymru, we work with individuals to get back into the workplace, or even set up their own business or gain new skills. Often people can lose confidence, but we give value back to them and make others see what great assets they can be to their communities and the economy.”