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The ‘Missing Million’: Campaign launch for the older involuntary jobless

by on October 24, 2014

Yesterday saw the launch of a campaign by three organizations to tackle the issue of unemployment among the over 50s. Those involved are the International Longevity Centre, The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and Business In The Community. The start of this was marked by the release of the first of three reports that look at the economic barriers faced by the over 50s in finding work.

The first report (available here) focuses on what they call – interestingly – the ‘missing million’. Based on what these organizations say is a conservative estimate, this refers to the almost 1 million people aged 50-64 who have been forced out of their jobs through factors outside of their control. These are the ‘involuntarily jobless’ who have lost work through a combination of redundancy, ill health or early retirement. I say ‘interesting’ because my research collaborator and co-blogger Katrina and I presented a conference paper this summer with the same title. The difference was, we used the term ‘missing million’ in the context of a particular construction that appeared in our dataset relating to youth unemployment in the UK in November 2011. Perhaps others have noticed the campaigning efficacy of an alliterative label to apply to a jobless group!

And talking of youth unemployment, the press release of the PRIME website (available here) makes specific mention of research showing that if people aged over 50 are helped back into employment, it does not mean that younger people are ‘crowded out ‘of the labour market. So, a welcome change from campaigns that try to pitch one unemployed age group against another.


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