Rising numbers of private sector job opportunities are offsetting public sector job cuts and having a positive effect on unemployment, official figures suggest

More people are finding jobs in the private sector than ever before and the number of opportunities being created in the UK are more than making up for those lost in the public sector, according to official data.

The Office for National Statistics has released figures that show there are 1.3 million more people working for private companies and businesses than there were at the start of 2010 and the 22,000 public sector job cuts suffered between March and May have been offset by 46,000 new positions in the private sector.

In total 24,000 more people have started work in the last three months and most of them have secured full-time roles. Unemployment fell by 5,000 in the quarter and the number of people receiving Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) dropped for the seventh consecutive month. The figure is now 300,000 lower than it was three years ago.

The total of young people out of work has fallen by 43,000 since May 2010 and the number of youngsters claiming JSA has reduced in each of the last 12 months.

The figures are a credit to resurgent British businesses, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said. He added that the Government's main priority is to see people back in work and he was glad to hear that its efforts were proving successful but he said it would not rest on its laurels and continue to strive to help more people find jobs and boost the economy and prospects of the country with its Work Programme and Youth Contract initiatives.

He confirmed not only was the country seeing more people in work, it was also seeing more women in work and more man-hours being spent in work than ever before.

He pointed to the fact that the 71.5% rate of employment seen in the UK is better than those of both the US (67%) and the whole of the EU (64%). Between March and May there were half a million job opportunities available for people to apply for in Britain, nearly 50,000 more than last year and the highest amount since the end of 2008.

Copyright Press Association 2013