By Daniel Hunter

An extra 627,000 people are working in the private sector compared to a year ago — significantly outstripping a 128,000 drop in public sector jobs, according to official statistics published today (Wednesday).

For the third successive month the figures also showed a fall in youth unemployment. Excluding full-time students, there are 626,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, the lowest figure since early 2009.

Long-term unemployment has also fallen, with the number of people out of work for more than six months down by 62,000 and the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance for more than six months also down.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban welcomed the figures from the Office for National Statistics which also show:

- Unemployment fell by 82,000 over the past quarter.
- The number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance fell by 3,000 in the last month.
- There are 44,000 more people in full-time work over the quarter.

"Once again these figures show that the private sector is creating far more jobs than are being lost in the public sector. It’s a credit to British businesses that they’re proving wrong those cynics who claimed the private sector wouldn’t be able to step up," Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, said.

"With unemployment falling again and more people in work, today’s figures are very welcome. To see youth unemployment, excluding students, at its lowest level for three and a half years is particularly good news.

"But we’re not complacent and know there are still lots of challenges ahead, which is why the Government will continue working hard to help those people who want to get on in life and allow the UK to compete in the global race."

Today’s statistics show that there were 2.51m unemployed people in August to October 2012 — down 82,000 from the previous quarter. The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell by 3,000 to 1.58m.

There are now more people in work than ever before, and there are well over one million more people in private sector jobs than in 2010. Compared to a year ago, there are more people in work in every region of England as well as in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Despite the welcome fall in youth unemployment, the Government today announced it is stepping up efforts to help more young people into work by extending the Youth Contract wage incentive, which gives employers up to £2,275 if they take on an unemployed young person. From next week it will be available for employers taking on any 18 to 24 year old in Great Britain who has been claiming benefits for six months.

The private sector is consistently creating more jobs than are being lost in the public sector. In the three months to September, the number of people employed in the private sector rose by 65,000 while the number working in the public sector fell by 24,000.

The number of people who are economically inactive — people who are not in work and not looking for work — rose by 60,000 this quarter, driven by a rise of 67,000 in the number of students. There are now 199,000 fewer people on the main out of work benefits than in May 2010.

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