Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed private sector employment increased for the sixth consecutive quarter, by an estimated 151,000 to 24.010 million, while public sector employment fell for the 13th consecutive quarter, by 20,000 to 5.7 million, the lowest for over a decade.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban 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."
Chancellor George Osborne said in his Budget speech that for every job lost in the public sector in recent years, six had been created by private firms.
But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Today's figures confirm our fears that economic stagnation has finally caught up with the jobs market.
"Young people are bearing the brunt of our jobs crisis, with the number of unemployed youngsters up 48,000 and approaching a million again. The news for those in work is not much better, with the gap between wages and the rising cost of living getting even wider."