Press release

700,000 more people working in private sector over past year

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

There are more people working in the private sector than at any time since records began, after a 700,000 increase over the last year.

There are more people working in the private sector than at any time since records began, after a 700,000 increase over the last year, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The number of people working in the private sector has risen by more than one and a quarter million since early 2010, more than offsetting the 398,000 drop in public sector employment.

Today’s figures show that the number of people in work rose by 131,000 over the past three months - all of which were full-time jobs.

Over the last quarter unemployment has risen by 7,000 but the position is better than it was a year ago. Unemployment is 136,000 lower than it was a year ago, and the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell again in February.

In addition, reforms to the welfare system have led to the number of people who are economically inactive (being neither in work nor looking for work) falling to its lowest rate in more than two decades. More people are moving into the labour market to find work. Worklessness as a whole fell by more than 100,000 over the quarter.

Since May 2010 the number of people claiming one of the main out of work benefits has fallen by more than a quarter of a million.

Today’s figures show the number of people out of work and looking for a job for more than a year fell by 16,000.

Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, said:

It’s a credit to businesses that the private sector is employing one and a quarter million more people than when this Government took office, helping us compete in the global race.

Today’s figures show that against a difficult economic backdrop we’re helping people to move off benefits and into work.

There are still tough challenges ahead which is why we’re working hard to give jobseekers all the help and support they need to realise their aspiration of finding a job.

Notes to Editors:

Background to labour market statistics: March 2013

This month’s Labour Force Survey covers November 2012 to January 2013. The claimant count is for February 2013 and the vacancy count for December 2012 to February 2013.

The number of people in work rose this quarter

  • 29.73 million people were in work in November 2012 to January 2013.
  • The employment level rose 131 thousand on the previous quarter and 590 thousand on the year
  • The employment rate is 71.5%, up 0.3 points on the quarter and up 1.1 points on the year.

ILO unemployment rose this quarter

  • 2.52 million people were ILO unemployed in the November 2012 to January 2013 quarter, up 7 thousand on the previous quarter but down 136 thousand on the year.
  • The ILO unemployment rate is 7.8%, unchanged on the quarter and down 0.5 points on the year.

The level of economic inactivity is down, and the inactivity rate is the lowest since 1991

  • The economic inactivity level is 8.95 million in the November 2012 to January 2013 quarter, down 118 thousand on the previous quarter and 320 thousand on the year.
  • The economic inactivity rate is 22.3%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and down 0.8 points on the year.
  • Excluding students, inactivity as a share of the 16-64 population is 16.7%, down 0.3 points on the quarter and down 0.6 points on the year.

The number of people on JSA, incapacity benefits and lone parents on income support all fell this month

  • Claimant unemployment was 1,542 thousand in February 2013, down 1.5 thousand on the month and down 67.5 thousand on the year.
  • The claimant count rate is 4.7%, unchanged on the month and down 0.2 points on the year.
  • The figures continue to be affected by the re-assessment of existing claims for incapacity benefits.  Both are likely to have added to the JSA caseload between January and February.
  • In the year to August 2012, the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 65,100 to 2.52 million. The most recent provisional figure for Jan 2013 suggests the caseload has since fallen further to 2.47 million.
  • In the year to May 2012, the number of lone parents on income support fell 50,000 to 545,000. The provisional figure for Jan 2013 is 505,000, suggesting that the numbers are continuing to fall

Unfilled vacancies are rising, and redundancies are falling

  • There were 133 thousand redundancies in November 2012 to January 2013, down 14 thousand on the previous quarter and 40 thousand on the year.
  • ONS’ vacancy survey estimates an average of 494 thousand unfilled vacancies in the three months to February 2013, up 2 thousand on the previous quarter and 30 thousand on the year.

Total weekly pay in January 2013 was up by 1.2% over the year

  • Growth in regular weekly pay, excluding bonuses, was up by 1.2% on the year.