“We’re seeing more people in work, even than we saw before Covid”

Brandon Lewis, Sky News

May 16, 2022

Facts

Brandon Lewis asserted that more people were in work, by May 2022, than prior to the Covid pandemic. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that, in the period from December 2019 to February 2020 there were around 33 million people in employment. 

In the most recent figures provided by the ONS, referring to the period February-April 2022, there were around 32.7 million people employed. Darren Morgan, the ONS’ Director of Economic Statistics stated ‘total employment.. remains below its pre-pandemic level’.

Verdict

A false statement from Brandon Lewis. There are fewer people in employment in the most recent period covered by the ONS than in the period preceding the pandemic.

The boast that there are more people in work than before the pandemic is often made by ministers. Downing Street has been told by the head of the UK Statistics Authority, Ed Humpherson, that ‘it is inaccurate to state that there are now more people in work than at the end of this period than the start'. Despite this, the claim has been endlessly repeated.

We approached Brand Lewis' office to give him a chance to comment, but received no response.

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