Business experts have urged the government not to rush through public-sector spending cuts before 2013.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned that job cuts should be capped at 125,000 before the 2012/2013 financial year, which is only 20% of the expected number of job losses.
Chief economic adviser John Philpott said that any jobs created in the private sector would not be able to offset the impact of the public sector cuts, and ideally the majority of job cuts should fall closer to 2015/16 than 2013/14.
He added: "Whatever the latest figures show, the majority of forward-looking indicators suggest that the UK jobs situation is about to take another turn for the worse.
"It's difficult to judge how serious any dip in demand for labour might be, but one wouldn't necessarily choose this moment to start cutting public sector employment.
"However, given the government's clear commitment to cuts to eliminate the deficit in this Parliament, it's imperative that those cuts are implemented in a way that minimises adverse effects on the government's wider objectives for growth, jobs, welfare-to-work initiatives and public service reform."