More job vacancies underline economic recovery

Vacancies for permanent and temporary jobs continued to increase last month, showing that the employment market was continuing on the road to recovery, according to a report today.

Research among 400 recruitment firms showed the availability of staff also rose, although at a slower pace than earlier in the year.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation research also revealed that hourly pay rates for temporary or contract staff increased at the fastest pace for over two years.

There were further "marked increases" in permanent and temporary appointments in April, but at a slower rate than in March.

Kevin Green, the confederation's chief executive, said: "The report highlights continued growth in both temporary and permanent employment, although the rate of growth has slowed slightly compared to previous months.

"The first test of the new administration will be to nurture the slowly improving but fragile jobs market.

"The incoming Government must address two immediate priorities - stimulating jobs growth and reducing expenditure without creating a public sector recession through shedding thousands of posts.

"Private sector employers have used short-time work, sabbaticals and pay freezes as a means of reducing costs whilst retaining high-performing staff. Innovative resourcing strategies will be equally crucial within the public sector."

Bernard Brown of KPMG, which helped with the research, added: "The latest figures show that the UK jobs market is continuing on the road to recovery albeit at a slower pace than the previous month. While the UK's gradual emergence from recession is starting to lead to better job prospects in the private sector, many public sector employers have finally woken up to the scale of the financial challenge that is coming their way.

"It is now becoming increasingly clear that the long predicted public sector recession has started to hit the jobs market and therefore the upwards trend we have seen over the last couple of months may come to a halt."

Another report, by employment firm Reed, said demand for new workers had remained "steady" last month, although it increased in financial services, insurance and leisure and tourism.

Martin Warnes, managing director of reed.co.uk, said: "While employer demand for new workers has stayed steady this month, across the economic scene our job index figures offer more signs of nervousness than confidence at the moment.

"Salaries are trending downwards, even in areas where demand for staff seems particularly buoyant, and demand for workers in London has dropped below last year's levels for the first time since the index began.

"Employers seem to be waiting to see the outcome of the General Election, so they can factor the result into their forward plans for jobs."

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