Scotland business

Scottish jobs market 'continues to strengthen'

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Media captionA Bank of Scotland survey finds more vacancies available and more people looking for work in August 2011

The Scottish jobs market strengthened further last month with increasing vacancies and placements, but also more people looking for jobs.

The Bank of Scotland monitor of labour market health has been testing positive since last November.

The survey draws on the views of recruitment specialists based in Scotland's four main cities.

It has suggested a better jobs market than the UK as a whole in each month since April.

August saw employment growth in all regions, with more people securing permanent jobs, more permanent vacancies created, and starting salaries rising solidly.

The number of people available for work also increased at a rising pace.

IT and computing remained the strongest sector for permanent job recruitment, with blue collar work the weakest.

The survey findings are in line with positive Scottish employment figures last week, and a warning of skill shortages in the oil and gas sector.

But there is also a warning from the Bank of Scotland's chief economist that it may be hard to maintain the improvements.

Donald MacRae said: "The barometer has now been above the equivalent index for the UK for five consecutive months. Demand for both temporary and permanent staff increased strongly.

"This latest Report on Jobs shows a further improvement in Scottish labour market conditions in August.  

"However, the barometer has fallen to a five month low, indicating that maintaining this improvement throughout the winter months will be challenging in the teeth of a global slowdown."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "This survey backs up what we saw in the latest labour market statistics which reported a fall of 33,000 in unemployment in Scotland over the year, compared to a rise of 44,000 in the UK over the same period.

"In fact, among all the nations and regions of the UK, Scotland is the only place where unemployment fell in the latest quarter, May-July 2011.

"However, there can be absolutely no room for complacency. We are building jobs and recovery in Scotland, and the UK government must implement a Plan B to ensure this not to derailed."

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