Job market growth 'increased in February'

Sainsbury employee
Image caption Many analysts expect unemployment to rise in the coming months

The number of staff appointments grew in February, according to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Rec).

It reported the fastest rise in permanent staff placements in ten months.

The group's report also showed the sharpest increase in temporary positions since May 2007.

Rec said more people were available for permanent and temporary work in February compared with previous months.

However, it expressed concern over the UK's future capacity for employment, with the government expected to cut the number of people employed in the public sector this year.

In its latest report, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment in the UK had increased by 44,000 to almost 2.5m in the three months to the end of December.

There had been 40,000 more job vacancies than in the previous three months.

However, the ONS said that most of these new vacancies were temporary jobs, working on the 2011 Census. Excluding this, there were just 8,000 more vacancies.

Private sector investment

Many analysts expect unemployment to rise in the coming months, as public sector spending cuts designed to bring down the UK's budget deficit are implemented by the government.

"The UK now has a two-speed labour market. The private sector continues to hire in increasing numbers while the public sector is shedding jobs," said Rec chief executive, Kevin Green.

"Nursing, medical and care sectors have significantly declined from a year ago. In comparison, the IT and computing sector saw accelerated growth over the same period," he added.

Bernard Brown, of accountants KPMG, which helped with the research, said he believed that government should encourage the private sector to take a wider role in supporting economic growth.

"What the government needs to do is encourage private sector investment into the provision of public services to mitigate the cuts and job losses we are expecting across the public sector," said Mr Brown.

"It also should continue to help and promote British exports in order to enable UK manufacturers to expand globally which many of them will need to do in order to survive," he added.

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