Age structure and the UK unemployment rate

Quarterly Bulletin 2000 Q3
Published on 01 September 2000

By Richard Barwell, formerly of the Bank’s Structural Economic Analysis Division.

The proportion of youths in the labour force has fallen dramatically in the past 15 years, following the collapse in the birth rate in the 1970s (the ‘baby bust’). Youths always have higher unemployment rates than adults, so this change in the composition of the labour force may have contributed to a fall in the aggregate unemployment rate. Based on data from the Labour Force Survey, it appears that about 0.55 percentage points of the 5.65 percentage point fall in the UK unemployment rate between 1984 and 1998 can be accounted for by changes in the age structure of the labour force.

PDFAge structure and the UK unemployment rate


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