Laura Sharman 06 March 2013

Public sector employment falls by 324,000

Public sector employment fell across all regions of England and Wales last year, according to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics.

The figures show that in 2012, public sector employment fell to below 2008 levels. However, the public sector still accounts for nearly one in five jobs (19.4%), with 2.6m working in local government.

Although the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 324,000 between September 2011 and September 2012, the reclassification of some educational bodies did affect figures. If this reclassification is excluded, employment fell by 128,000. In the East Midlands, London and the South East, employment would be higher than in March 2008.

TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: ‘Such severe reductions in public sector employment are a real tragedy for those families whose relatives have lost their jobs, and will continue to damage local communities for many years to come.

‘In those parts of the UK where workers are more likely to be employed in the public sector the hit to businesses and shops on local high streets has been devastating as people have been forced to rein in their spending.

‘With libraries, Sure Start centres, youth clubs, charities and arts groups all facing the axe, valuable services that people have come to rely upon are disappearing. And with the Office for Budget Responsibility predicting that over a million public sector jobs will go by 2018, and the private sector unlikely to be able to create enough jobs to compensate, the future doesn't look bright.’

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