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But the reality is that people are working longer. In the U.K., it is increasingly those people age 50-plus who are finding jobs as the sluggish economy crawls its way forward, according to number crunching by Citi-group.

Indeed, since the first quarter of 2008, the number of 16 to 49-year-olds employed has fallen 2.2 , while for 50- to 64- year-olds employment has risen 5.1% and for those 65 and over, it is a staggering 41.4%, Citi calculates.

Some of this is due simply to the fact people are living longer. Some can also be attributed to the UK.'s switch to a service-sector economy in which older people are easier to employ.

The shift helps explain the puzzling disconnect between rising employment and flatlining economic growth. Older workers are more likely to take lower-paid, temporary or part-time jobs-- and are more likely to save than spend, Citi notes. Call it the austerity of age.