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According to the Job Index published today by Reed, salary offers for new jobs dropped back below 2009 levels, although demand from UK employers for new workers remained steady in April 2010.
The number of new job opportunities matched March's level, giving a Reed Job Index reading of 102 (against a baseline of 100 set in December last year). However average salaries on offer in April were -4% lower than this year's high point in February, and slipped below last year's level to give a Salary Index reading of 99.
A few sectors bucked the trend. Job demand for General Insurance, Financial Services and Leisure & Tourism staff rose to their highest level since the Reed Job Index was created last year. However, salary offers did not rise in line with job demand last month. Average salary offers were -5% below December's level for both General Insurance and Financial Services staff, and remained level for Leisure & Tourism staff.
Job demand in some regions held up, with East Anglia, North East England, the South East (excluding London) and Scotland all remaining above last year's levels.
Martin Warnes, Managing Director of reed.co.uk, comments "while employer demand for new workers has stayed steady this month, across the economic scene the Index figures offer more signs of nervousness than confidence at the moment. Salaries are trending downwards, even in areas where demand for staff seems particularly buoyant, and demand for workers in London has dropped below last year's levels for the first time since the Index began."
"However the predominant trend is level with last month. Employers seem to be waiting to see the outcome of the General Election, so they can factor the result into their forward plans for jobs."
Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat prospective Secretary of Work and Pensions, comments "the latest Reed Job Index shows that the UK is not yet out of the woods of the economic downturn."
"These figures show why cutting spending while the economy remains fragile would be a big mistake. We need to invest in a green jobs package which will encourage employers to take on more staff. This will support the economy now and build our infrastructure for the long-term."
Yvette Cooper, prospective New Labour Secretary of State for Work and Pensions comments "this shows how vital it is to keep up support for jobs and the economy this year until the recovery is secure."
"Unemployment is around half a million lower than experts predicted last year but many people are still having a hard time as a result of the recession, and we are not out of the woods yet."
"Labour's support for jobs and the unemployed has made a difference but it would be disastrous for families and for jobs to cut back on public spending and support for the economy right now as the Tories have promised."
Reed provided no quote from the Conservative Party.