Why is the UK workforce shrinking?

Since 2019 half a million people have withdrawn from the UK workforce through sickness

I always thought this reduction was mainly people aged 55-65 deciding to hang up their spurs early following some Covid era revelation about life quality but there is something else going on …..

In the UK there seems to be an increase in long term sickness:

But long Covid accounts for less than a fifth of the increase; however Mental illness has increased 22% and back problems 31%

UK Government figures via the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the group with the biggest % increase in people withdrawing from the work force were younger workers with the 25-34 age bracket showing the biggest increase of 42%, followed by an increase of 29% for those aged 16 – 24, not available for work since 2019 !

To complete the results: an increase of 16% for those 50-64 (although in absolute numbers still the largest); and a comparatively low 6% for those aged 35-49

So there are now 2.5 m people in the UK classed as unable to work, this has serious implications for employers, following on the back of workers leaving the UK post Brexit and during Covid. Employee shortages will surely lead to further wage inflation. balanced of course, by any contractions in the economy

So what is going on? Is it due to an overstretched health service?

I am interested to know how the UK compares with other similar countries over the last three years?

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