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The Scottish job market improved slightly in January after it experienced a decline at the end of the year. This is according to the latest Bank of Scotland Labour market Barometer, which showed that both temporary and permanent jobs increased in the month.
The Barometer, which measures its figures against a baseline of 50, recorded an index of 50.4 in January, which is up marginally from 50.3 in December.
The Barometer also found that recruitment agencies reported a slight increase in demand for new hires although average salaries for permanent employees fell for the first time in 13 months.
The Bank has designed the labour market barometer to provide a composite snapshot of labour market conditions and measures demand for staff, employment, availability for work, and pay in the permanent and temporary markets.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said "The Scottish labour market showed a small but important improvement in January. Despite slowing growth in the Eurozone and the UK, the number of people placed into permanent jobs increased after December's decline while the number of vacancies for permanent staff was broadly unchanged from the end of last year. This latest barometer suggests the Scottish economy is struggling to maintain growth momentum in challenging economic conditions."
A spokesman of the Scottish Government also commented in an interview that "The report shows a modest improvement in labour market conditions in Scotland in January – the 15th consecutive month of reported improvement. However, it is clear that we need sustained action to support Scotland's economic recovery. The Scottish Government has delivered a budget for growth which boosts public sector capital investment, takes action to tackle unemployment and in particular youth unemployment, and enhances economic security.”
He added, "We are using every lever currently available to us to secure new investment and create and safeguard jobs in the face of severe cuts from Westminster. We need the UK Government to follow suit and implement a 'Plan MacB' approach for the UK economy – increasing capital investment, securing consumer confidence and ensuring that businesses have access to finance to create the conditions necessary for recovery."