By Daniel Hunter

Private sector employment has hit a new record high, according to official statistics published yesterday. There are 1.3 million more people in private sector jobs than in early 2010.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics show that more people are in work than ever before and that private sector employment is up 46,000 on the quarter, which more than offsets the 22,000 fall in public sector employment over the same period.

The statistics also show:

employment has risen by 24,000 over the last 3 months, with the majority being fulltime jobs

unemployment is down by 5,000 over the quarter with the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance falling for the seventh month in a row

the number of people claiming the main out of work benefits is now 300,000 lower than it was in May 2010

youth unemployment is also down 43,000, with the youth claimant count lower than in May 2010 and the number of young people claiming JSA has fallen every month over the last year

Mark Hoban, Employment Minister said:

It’s a credit to the growth of British businesses up and down the country that we now have a record number of people employed in the private sector. Our priority is getting people back into work and today’s figures show we have more people in work than ever before, more women in work than ever before, and more hours worked in the economy than ever before.

With the number of people in work increasing, and unemployment down, these are welcome figures. The fact that youth unemployment is also down is a positive sign. But we are not complacent — through schemes like the Work Programme and the Youth Contract we will continue to help people find the jobs they need so they can realise their aspiration of looking after themselves and their families and help the country compete in the global race.

Today’s statistics show that the UK’s employment rate of 71.5% is better than the USA, where it stands at 67%, and the EU and Eurozone where is it is around 64%.

There were more than half a million job vacancies in the UK between March and May 2013 — the highest number since the end of 2008 — and 48,000 more than this time last year.