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Rate of decline in job market has slowed down giving hope the worst is over

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Further signs of green shoots have appeared as the job market deterioration slowed down in May, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG.

Although the REC and KPMG Labour Market Survey for May showed fewer appointments of temporary and permanent staff, the rate of decline had eased since April and weaker reductions in demand for staff was also noted. The survey reported the slowest fall in demand for staff in seven months.

Six out of 10 recruiters reported either stable or increased demand for temporary staff in May.

Although the supply of candidates applying for permanent jobs continued to increase in May, the rise in demand was the slowest for seven months, while the availability of temporary staff, while still experiencing a rapid rise, was the slowest increase since October 2008.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said: "This month's report on jobs shows vacancies and appointments continue to decline, but there are some signs of recovery."

And Mike Stevens, partner and head of business services at KPMG, added: ‘There is now some reason to hope the UK jobs market has overcome the worst, at least for this phase of the recession.

"But it remains difficult to build real optimism of an incipient recovery because most of the world remains mired in the depths of recession. In addition, the uncertainties of public-sector spending associated with the final year of a government that is losing the capacity to borrow make it all the more difficult for businesses to contemplate the investment - in people, ideas and capital spend - that would begin to show evidence of a sustainable recovery."