Employment will not return to pre-recession levels for 14 years and could take longer in some parts of the country hardest-hit by Government spending cuts, according to new research.
The TUC said if private firms continued to create jobs at the same rate as they have over the past decade, it will take more than 20 years in some regions to make up for work lost in the recession.
More than 1.3 million private sector jobs have been lost since official figures for workplace jobs peaked at 31 million in 2008, the study found.
Around 2.2 million jobs will have to be created to get the labour market back to pre-recession levels, which could take up to 14 years, but much longer in areas such as Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West, said the TUC.
Mining and quarrying have lost the most jobs since 2008, losing 15% of its workforce, followed by manufacturing (down 12%), construction (11%) and retail (7%), the analysis showed.
The loss of jobs would have been even greater but for increases in staff in the NHS, social care and education, although the TUC warned that public spending cuts due to be announced by the Government next month will lead to "heavy" job losses.
The number of workforce jobs could fall below 30 million for the first time since 2003, warned the TUC on the eve of its annual congress, which opens in Manchester on Monday.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We can all be grateful that unemployment did not rise as high as many feared during the recession, but that does not mean we should forget that more than a million people lost their jobs.
"We may now be out of recession but this has yet to work through to any significant job creation. When the spending cuts start to bite and public sector job losses begin in earnest, the Government tells us that the private sector can make up the difference, but there are already many people who have lost private sector jobs chasing every vacancy.
"Spending cuts will cause further private sector job losses, not just because the state will buy fewer goods and services, but those who lose their jobs will stop spending too. Even if the private sector does better than in the past, the spending cuts will condemn us to high unemployment for the foreseeable future."