Permanent staff hiring slows from two-year high in August - survey

Reuters
A woman passes notices for jobs in the window of a recruitment agency in London
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A woman passes notices for jobs in the window of a recruitment agency in London April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - British employers took on permanent staff at a slightly slower pace last month after hiring hit its highest in more than two years in July, but temporary appointments rose at the fastest rate since 1998, a survey showed on Monday.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy KPMG pointed to another positive month overall for the UK labour market, the health of which is pivotal for the Bank of England's new monetary policy guidance.

Their monthly index measuring permanent job placements slipped in August to 61.3 from 63.3 the previous month, but well above the 50 mark that indicates growth.

The index for temporary job hiring hit 62.9 in August, its best showing since July 1998 and up from 61.5.

The report also showed a sharp rise in the number of permanent vacancies. Salaries paid to workers in permanent positions increased at the fastest pace since February 2008.

"August was an extraordinary month for the UK jobs market," said REC Chief Executive Kevin Green.

"Vacancy growth has hit a six-year high and fluidity is returning to the jobs market, so over the coming months we expect to see a noticeable improvement in official employment figures."

Business surveys last week suggested the pace of hiring slowed last month among services and manufacturing companies even as overall growth picked up in both sectors.

Britain's labour market is in the spotlight after the Bank of England said last month it would not consider raising interest rates until the unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent, something the Bank expects only in late 2016.

Unemployment was 7.8 percent in June. An official report on the labour market in July, due on Wednesday, is expected to show the unemployment rate stayed unchanged in July, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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