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February 3, 2010    

Labour market begins slow recovery

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by Kay Murchie

A survey conducted by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has established that the labour market is on the road to recovery.

The research, which questioned 400 recruitment and employment consultancies, showed permanent staff placements increased for the sixth consecutive month in January.

The permanent placement index dipped to 60.5 from December’s 62.8, but remained well above the crucial 50 mark which represents growth.

The vacancies index for permanent staff rose from 60.6 to 61.9 in January - its highest reading since July 2007.

Last month, official figures revealed that the unemployment rate eased to 7.8% from 7.9%.

The REC, which conducts the research, together with accountants KPMG, said that although the rate of growth in permanent placements slowed in January from December’s two-year high, the recovery remains on track.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said: “The growth in people getting permanent jobs eased in January but still remained positive overall. The number of vacancies reported by recruitment businesses also accelerated at the sharpest rate since July 2007, suggesting that we are now on the long road to recovery.”

Meanwhile, Bernard Brown of KPMG, added: “The UK jobs market is continuing its journey back to health. Placements of permanent and temporary jobs have been rising again in January although at a slower pace than a month before, a reminder that the road to recovery will be bumpy.”

In separate news today, a survey from the Nationwide Building Society has revealed a rise in UK consumer confidence for the month of January.

The building society’s consumer confidence index gained three points to 73 in January - nearly double the reading of 39 in the same month a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the Nationwide’s expectations index, which gauges peoples’ sentiment about the economy, jobs and personal finances in six months time, increased to 107, from 103 in December.

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