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Number of older workers increases - 15-02-2005
The employment rate for people aged 50 and over has continuously increased since 1993, because the increasing labour market participation of ethnic minorities in the 50+ age group and the general strength of the labour market reflected in increased earnings.

Since 1993 there has been an increase in the employment rate of the 50+ group both for men and for women. However, the increase has been stronger for women, reflecting changes in society over time. The employment rate for 50+ men increased from 38 per cent in spring 1992 to 44 per cent in spring 2004, while for women it rose from 23 per cent to 30 per cent.

The figures are based on research that used econometric analysis to examine some of the suggested reasons behind this. It considered factors such as changes in earnings, the shift from manufacturing to service sector employment, changes in educational levels, the shift from manual to non-manual employment, ethnic background, and marital status.

The econometric analysis shows that there were positive associations between the employment rate and earnings and also with ethnicity. However, several factors were not in fact significant. These included the shift to service sector jobs, educational qualifications, marital status and the switch towards non-manual labour.

The increase in employment rate to some extent appears driven by increasing participation in the labour market of ethnic minorities in the 50+ age group, reflecting the changing ethnic profile feeding through into the older age groups. Earnings have also increased over time, suggesting that the increase in the employment rate for older workers is associated with a strong labour market.

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