Employment returns to pre recession peak
As noted above, the number of people in employment has returned to its pre-recessionary peak. There were 29.6 million people in employment in the three months to September 2012, its highest point since the three months to May 2008. While the employment rate is still well below its pre-recessionary pinnacle – mainly due to the increase in the size of the workforce over this period – the short time in which the labour market has regained ground on this measure is still very surprising. It took over seven years for the labour market do this in the recession in the mid-eighties, and over eight years during the mid-nineties recession, despite economic output recovering much more quickly over these periods.
As shown in last month’s analysis, this has been driven by part time rather than full time employment. But despite this it is also interesting to note that total hours worked in the economy is now also very close to its pre-recession peak even though full time employment has fallen in recent years.