A link between so-called ‘long Covid’ and absence from the labour market has been highlighted for the first time since the pandemic.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show 23.3 per cent of 16-64 year-olds with long-covid were economically inactive as of July of this year.
This, compared to 21.4 per cent being inactive without long Covid, comes as the inactivity rate for those with long-Covid also increased significantly.
Between July 2021 and 2022 inactivity for those with long covid went up almost four per cent, compared to just 0.4 per cent without it.
The rate was strongest for those between the age of 50-64, who had higher odds of inactivity compared to pre-infection levels which peaked at 71.2 per cent.
The ONS figures also showed that those with long-covid are more likely to have long-term absence from work, of 18-29 weeks after they were first infected.
“Today’s analysis shows that working-age people are less likely to participate in the labour market after developing long COVID symptoms than they were before being infected with coronavirus” said Daniel Ayoubkhani, data and analysis for social care and health at the ONS, said.
“Furthermore, this relationship between self-reported long COVID and inactivity for reasons other than education or retirement is strongest among people aged 50 years or above. Long COVID may therefore have contributed to the decreasing levels of participation seen in the UK labour market during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, it is unlikely to be the only reason, and further research is needed into other possible factors such as indirect health effects of the pandemic.”