Over 50s unemployment 'is a growing problem'

In today's difficult economic times, unemployment among the over 50s is a growing problem, according to one expert.

Laurie South, chief executive of not-for-profit company PRIME, said most people know someone over 50 who is out of work.

His comments follow the publication of a new report by the Trades Union Congress, which shows that almost half of all unemployed people aged 50 or over have been out of a job for more than a year.

It suggested that this may be pushing some people into taking early retirement.

Mr South said that for the over 50s, getting back into the labour market after being out of work for six months is very difficult.

Starting up a business may therefore be a better solution for those who want to keep working and who have an idea they would like to take forward.

However, for those who are able to find employment, new research suggests that older people can make a valuable contribution in the workplace.

A study by the Lancaster University Management School shows that customer satisfaction is 20 per cent higher in McDonald's restaurants that employ staff over the age of 60.

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