The number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4 million.
Youth unemployment fell by 62,000 to 957,000, the lowest figure for over a year. Self-employment has also increased, up by 35,000 to 4.2 million, while the number of unpaid workers in a family business rose by 2,000 to 112,000.
The data also showed a rise of 13,000 in the number of people on Government-supported training and employment programmes to 158,000. Economic inactivity, including those looking after a sick relative or who have given up looking for work, fell by 138,000 in the latest quarter to just over nine million.
Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: "It's a real landmark to see more people in work than ever before. Despite the tough economic times, the private sector continues to create jobs and our welfare reforms are encouraging people to return to work - with 170,000 fewer people on the main out-of-work benefits than in May 2010.
"The big fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, but we know this remains a challenge, which is why we have the £1 billion Youth Contract offering nearly 500,000 work experience places, apprenticeships and wage incentives to help young people get a job."