LONDON The number of people finding jobs via recruitment agencies in Britain grew again last month, but more slowly than previously, while vacancies rose at the fastest pace in almost two years, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said its seasonally adjusted index of permanent staff placements fell to 53.2 in December from 56.0 in November, which was the highest since April 2011. Readings above 50 indicate growth compared to a month earlier.
"We've now had three months of uninterrupted growth in people finding permanent jobs through recruitment agencies," said REC chief executive Kevin Green.
"The picture for 2013 is likely to be similar to 2012, and we expect the labour market to yet again outperform the sluggish economic growth in the UK," he added.
Official data released last month showed a record 29.6 million Britons in employment in the three months to October, despite the fact that the economy was in recession during the first half of the year.
Boding well for job-seekers in coming months, the number of job vacancies posted the strongest rise in 20 months in December, with more openings in both private and public sectors.
However, in a worrying sign for central bankers charged with keeping inflation under control, salaries awarded to people placed in permanent jobs rose at the fastest pace in 15 months, according to the poll by REC and business consultants KPMG.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; Editing by Hugh Lawson)