Employment lifts as firms grow bolder

 
Tim Wallace
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STRONG jobs figures published yesterday raised hopes that the economic recovery is finally underway.

Permanent staff placements by recruitment firms grew for the second month running in February, according to the KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report on jobs, though temporary placements fell.

Overall demand for staff rose at the fastest pace in four months particularly in the IT and computing sector.

The index of permanent staff placements rose from 51.2 in January to 53.2 in February, indicating a higher rate of growth.

Any figure above 50 indicates an increased number of placements.

However, the slowdown in temporary placements accelerated, with the index falling from 49.4 to 49, and salaries for permanent staff declined for the first time since October 2009.

The vacancies expanded for both, hitting 53.6 for permanent staff, up from 52.2 in January, and slowing slightly from 53.7 to 52.7 for temporary work.

In terms of sector, the IT and computing industry and engineering and construction sector remained the top two growth areas, with indices of 58.5 and 57.3 respectively.

Nursing and medical care also expanded strongly with an index reading of 54 – a major improvement on the 46.3 decline registered a year ago, when the industry was the weakest performer in terms of hiring.

The only sector to register a fall in vacancies in the month was the hotel and catering industry, scoring 47.3.

“The labour market is clearly improving, so jobseekers should take heart that there are vacancies out there,” said Kevin Green from the REC.

“Slowly, private sector employers are becoming more confident as the gloom around the Eurozone recedes.”