New analysis reveals that employment rates in the UK continue to lag behind pre-pandemic levels, with accusations from the Labour party that the Conservative government has not adequately addressed the issue of getting people back to work.

According to research based on official data up until May, the employment rate remains lower now than it was in nine out of the twelve regions and nations prior to the pandemic.

In a noteworthy observation, the Conservative party highlighted that even Labour-governed Wales was among the areas witnessing a significant decline since December 2019.

A notable statistic is that Britain stands out as the sole G7 nation with an employment rate that has yet to recover to its pre-pandemic levels.

London was impacted the most

London experienced the most substantial drop in employment, with an 80,000 decrease in employment and a decline of over 2 percent since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This analysis was conducted by the Labour party.

Other regions also encountered significant reductions in employment, such as the East Midlands and the South West. However, there were positive developments in the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, and the West Midlands, where employment rates showed improvement.

Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commented on the situation, blaming the Tory government for the UK’s diminished employment rate. He highlighted that Britain is the only G7 country facing this challenge, contrasting it with Labour’s mission to establish sustained growth that outpaces other G7 nations.

Who’s approach is correct?

In response, Employment Minister Guy Opperman criticised Labour’s historical approach, stating that they have not demonstrated a trustworthy track record in boosting employment. He pointed out that Labour-governed Wales has the highest unemployment rate in the UK, emphasising that no Labour administration has managed to leave office with lower unemployment than when they took office.

A government spokesperson defended their efforts, asserting that they are committed to promoting success in the job market. They mentioned that their initiatives to enhance employment opportunities across the country have yielded positive results, leading to near-record high employment rates and the addition of four million jobs since 2010. Additionally, they noted that inactivity has decreased by 360,000 since the peak of the pandemic.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.