The labour market suffered a "marked slowdown" last month, with the slowest growth in permanent and temporary staff appointments in seven months, according to a KPMG/REC survey published this morning.
The report also showed that the overall demand for staff had risen at its slowest pace in five months. Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG, said the figures were "worrying".
"We'll need to see whether this is a trend or a blip. Employers across all sectors are becoming more cautious about hiring staff," he said. "With businesses and consumers now being hit by higher taxes and fuel costs, public spending cuts and a continuing squeeze on real incomes – this is perhaps no surprise."