But the GMB union said the new jobs offset huge cutbacks in manufacturing and that just over half of the posts were full-time.
It said the regions with the biggest employment growth were Scotland, the North West, South East, London, Yorkshire and Humberside and West Midlands.
Just under a million jobs have been lost in manufacturing in the same period, the study showed.
The union drew up a national league of areas with the highest number of new jobs, headed by Lancashire, Kent, Leeds, Staffordshire, Birmingham, Hampshire, Essex and Glasgow.
Paul Kenny, acting general secretary of the GMB, said the jobs had coincided with introduction of the national minimum wage, adding: "These new jobs show that the Tory Party and the CBI misled, deliberately in our view, the British public with their claim that the national minimum wage would cost jobs."