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Nine-year low for public sector employment

Jobs in the public sector are at a nine-year low, statistics from the ONS suggest, but the private sector could compensate for the increase in unemployment. The number fell by 39,000 between February and April this year to 5.9 million, the lowest total since March 2003.

Ministers have a deliberate policy to promote private sector employment and reduce the number of jobs in the public sector.

In Scotland, the proportion of people working in the traditional public sector, excluding those who work for bailed-out banks, is now 22.5% – the lowest since devolution. There are now 552,300 people working in the traditional public sector inScotland.

UK employment minister ChrisGrayling said: “These figures show that with the right support in place, it is possible for the private sector to create jobs while the public sector employment is falling.”

Alan Downey, partner and head of public sector at KPMG, suggested that the private sector is able to compensate for the fall in public sector unemployment.

He said: “Public sector headcount is continuing to fall rapidly. That comes as no surprise – it is an inevitable consequence of the Government’s deficit reduction strategy.

“The big challenge for the Government – and for the country as a whole – is to ensure that private sector employment increases at a pace that more than compensates for the decline in the public sector.

“These figures suggest that the equation is working, as the increase of 250,000 in private sector employment dwarves the fall of 39,000 in the public sector. This is not only good for the economy in general, but also good news for those public servants who have lost their jobs, as it suggests there will be opportunities for them to find work in the private sector.”

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