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REC/KPMG report rising number of jobs and placements for sixth month running

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The employment market has seen improvement for the sixth month running, with growing numbers of placements and permanent vacancies.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG, permanent staff placements increased during January. Although weaker than December's peak, the rate of growth remained marked.

Temporary and contract staff billings also rose strongly, with the pace of expansion only slightly below the previous month's two-and-a-half year high.
 
Employers are also more optimistic about hiring. As the report shows, vacancies increased for the fourth consecutive month, and at the fastest rate since July 2007.     
 
And the availability of staff to fill both permanent and temporary/contract vacancies continued to rise in January. But in both cases the rates of growth dropped from the elevated levels seen in late 2008 and early 2009.
 
Although permanent staff salaries continued to increase in January, the rate of growth eased slightly and remained weak by the survey's historical standards. Temporary/contract staff pay rose for the first time since September 2008, albeit only marginally.
 
Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, says: "The growth in people getting permanent jobs eased off 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.
 
"The labour market is out of intensive care but it is still in a fragile state. While employers are hiring more now than at any other time in the past year, the recovery is tentative and must not be put at risk by taxes or regulatory changes."
 
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at 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. As confidence has returned to the private sector the starting gun for a public-sector recession has only just been fired and its impact on the jobs market will be felt over the next 12 to 18 months."