Public sector employment on the up, ONS reveals

15 Jun 16

Public sector employment has seen two quarter-on-quarter increases for the first time since 2008 according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

The public sector employment statistics, published for the first quarter of 2016, found total UK public sector employment was 5.354 million, around 6,000 higher than in the last quarter of 2015. Following the 4,000 increase in the October to December period, this means public sector employment has risen in two consecutive periods for the first time since the last three months of 2008.

However, employment in the sector remains 21,000 lower than in the first quarter of 2015 and is over 1 million down from the peak of nearly 6.4 million set in the three months to September 2009.

According to the latest figures, central government is the largest public sector employer with 2.963 million workers, 18,000 more than at December 2015. However, local government employment fell over the three months by 17,000 to 2.211 million, and remains at the lowest level since the series began in 1999.

Employment in the NHS stands at 1.620 million, was 9,000 over the quarter and 31,000 higher compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, the ONS revealed that the overall unemployment rate fell to 5.0%, down 0.1 points to the lowest level since the three months to October 2005.

There are nearly 31.6m people in work, 55,000 more than for the three months to January 2016 and up 461,000 over the last 12 months.

Responding to the employment figures, work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb said: “Secure employment and a decent wage are key to transforming the life chances of people right the way across the country, so I’m delighted to see another strong set of figures this month.

“There are more people in work than ever before and wages are continuing their upward climb, which is great news for hardworking families who have seen a rise in their living standards over the past year.”

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