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Record Number of Brits Not Working Due to Long-Term Health Issues

Long COVID is thought to be partly to blame for Britain's persistent labor shortage.

Close-up of a male patient’s hand in a hospital bed with oximeter. Senior man admitted hospital.Luis Alvarez/Getty

A record number of people remain out of the workforce in the United Kingdom.

Official figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics show that more than 2.5 million people are not currently working because of long-term sickness.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, told the BBC's Today Programme that "400,000 more people" than average have been unable to work due to health issues since the start of the pandemic.

According to the ONS, the increase can be traced to a combination of "post-viral fatigue" -- which would include long COVID -- as well as mental health issues for younger workers and back and neck pain that could be caused by working from home.

The UK has struggled to rebound as quickly as other developed countries since the pandemic, partly because of a persistent labor shortage.

Neil Carberry, chief executive at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, told the BBC that the high number of people not working due to illness "is holding the economy back by constraining companies' ability to grow."

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