Large increases in employment in the NHS and education sector have boosted worker numbers in the public sector.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sector employment jumped by 146,000 in the year to March 2004, against a 132,000 rise a year earlier.
The NHS took on 68,000 more workers and education a further 44,000. The two now make up 50% of public sector employment compared with 42% in 1991.
The number of public sector workers has risen each year since 1998.
That followed seven years of falls since 1991, the ONS added. Job losses
During the 1991 to 1998 period a total of 815,000 jobs were lost in the sector.
But the ONS added that while employment in the sector is now 11% higher than in 1998 - after adding a total of 583,000 jobs, it still remains below the levels of employment seen in 1991 and 1992.
However, employment in the sector could once again be heading lower.
In September last year, the government said it planned to cut 104,000 civil service jobs - mainly targeting social security offices and jobcentres and increase the retirement age of public sector workers to 65.
It added the proposals would see more resources being put into "front line services".
However unions have attacked the cuts as "crude cost cutting" which could halve worker pensions and have threatened to hold mass walk-outs ahead of the next general election, which is widely expected to take place in May. BBC News