What impact has COVID-19 had on the Scottish labour market, asks Holyrood Committee
7 July 2022
The COVID-19 Recovery Committee is to analyse the impact of the pandemic on the Scottish labour market, including how long Covid, long-term sickness and early retirement is affecting the number of those in work.
As the country starts the process of recovery from the pandemic, a key issue that has emerged is a persistently high number of people no longer part of the workforce, termed ‘economically inactive’.
A blog by the Fraser of Allander Institute concluded in April 2022 that, “More worrying for the outlook for the Scottish labour market is the fact that we now have over 20,000 more people economically inactive because of long-term sickness than we had pre-pandemic.”
The Committee will investigate the reasons behind these high numbers, including the emergence of above average numbers of long-term sick. They want to understand if this is this due to pre-existing conditions, or new conditions, such as long COVID, or other factors, such as stress brought on by pandemic experiences. The Committee will also look at whether early retirement is one of the drivers behind this change in the labour market.
COVID-19 Recovery Committee Convener Siobhian Brown MSP said: “Unlike previous economic shocks, where the labour force numbers recovered much more quickly, we are seeing concerning persistent numbers of long term economically inactive people.
“We want to find out why this has happened and what needs to be done to encourage these people back into the work place.
“We are keen to learn more about the labour market impact of the pandemic on people with pre-existing health conditions, what influenced people to take early retirement and whether specific groups of society or areas of the country have been impacted more than others.
“There is no doubt that the reasons behind this will be complex but in order to address this issue we must first understand why people are no longer working.”
Let the Committee know your views:
The call for views closes on 9 September.
The ONS defines economic inactivity as “people not in employment who have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks.”
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