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UK public sector employment falls to lowest levels in second quarter

UK public sector employment falls to lowest levels in second quarter

New statistics show that the public sector of the UK now only has 5.4 million workers, meaning it is at the lowest levels since records began in 1999.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the labour market figures saw a decrease of 16,000 in the second quarter, and overall public sector employment was down 59,000 over the last 12 months.

In the private sector, meanwhile, employment increased by 58,000 jobs compared to the first quarter.

Local government

Local government positions across the UK saw the biggest falls, with 13,000 fewer employees over the quarter. The overall total of people employed in local government roles was also at its lowest since 1999, standing at 2.3 million.

Central government saw employment fall by 1,000 over the quarter, and UK public corporations had a drop of 2,000.

Priti Patel, the Employment minister, commented: “With a record number of people working in the private sector and wages rising, it is clear that the remarkable jobs success that we have seen under this government is continuing.”

Key challenge

Commenting on the figures, Chief economist at the Resolution Foundation Matthew Whittaker warned of recruitment and retention problems in the public sector when he said it “could prove to be one of the key challenges facing the government in the next five years.”

The wider UK economy saw unemployment stay at 5.5% over the three months from May to July, although the absolute number of people out of work increased by 10,000 to a total of 1.82 million in the May to July period. 

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