By Jason Theodorou

The Report on Jobs, published today by the REC and KPMG, indicates that staff appointments increased at a slower rate during June. Recruitment consultancies saw another rise in permanent staff placements, with a concurrent increase in demand for permanent staff members.

Although still solid, growth of temporary staff billings eased to a seven-month low in June. The rate of increase remained below that signalled for permanent appointments.

Higher levels of availability were recorded for both permanent and temporary staff in June. However, the rates of improvement differed, with the former registering only a marginal rise whilst the latter posted solid growth that was the sharpest in three months.

Higher pay rates for both permanent and temporary staff were signalled by recruitment consultants in June. However, the increases remained below the respective averages for the series since data were first available in October 1997.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

'Demand for permanent staff continues to grow. This is an encouraging sign that the jobs market is stable and, in some sectors such as construction and engineering, rapidly growing'.

'However, with the predictions of up to 600,000 job losses in the public sector, it is still too early to tell how much of a knock-on effect this will have on job creation in the private sector. Our main concern is how the near million young jobseekers are going to get their first role in a highly competitive jobs market. This problem can only escalate due to the thousands of graduates and school-leavers who will be seeking employment in the coming months'.

Mr. Green went on to say that youth unemployment is one of the most pressing issues currently faced in the UK, and stressed that it needs to be urgently addressed.

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG said:

'Demand for workers across all sectors continued to rise in June. Clearly, the proposed public sector cuts have not yet had an impact on the UK jobs market. However, it can now be only a matter of time before we will start to see the impact of the government's efficiency savings strategy which is likely to leave hundreds of thousands of public sector workers looking for employment'.

The report stated that a big challenge would be transferring jobs to the private sector, through outsourcing and divestment, to avoid pressure on all levels of the economy.

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