The fragile recovery has been confined to London and the East of England, according to a new report by the TUC.
People in all other regions of England have seen their employment rates fall despite the overall number in work across the country being higher.
The TUC compared the employment rate in mid-2013 with the rate in previous years, and found that fewer people in the North East, the North West, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, South East and the South West were in work compared with 2008.
There are currently 780,000 more people in employment than there were in 2010, but part of this is accounted for by population growth.
In the last twenty years the number of working-age people in the UK has gone up by four million.
London and the east of England saw rises in employment, although London's 0.4% jump is smaller than might be expected given the general perception that it has lead the economic pack.
The south-west saw the biggest fall, with 2.4% fewer people in work compared to the pre-recession years.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s growing population has meant record levels of employment for much of the last two decades. But despite the return of growth the chance of having a job has actually fallen in much of England since 2010.
“The City of London may have caused the crash but the capital’s job market has been the most resilient over the last five years. Instead, areas like the West Midlands have borne the brunt of recession, with people’s chances of being in work are barely any better today than they were after the last recession in the early 90s.
“Whilst it’s great that jobs are created being in London and the South East, stronger job creation is needed throughout the country. We need more well-paid jobs, as well as better wage rises for those already in work, if the UK’s 30 million strong workforce is to get a fair share of the benefits of recovery.”