Scottish jobs market continues to grow

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  By a Newsnet reporter

The Scottish job market continued to improve last month, according to the latest job market survey by the Bank of Scotland.  The survey showed that the monthly rate of growth in job vacancies filled was the highest since April.  

There were rises in both permanent and temporary jobs.  The figures are considered a hopeful sign that Scotland’s job market may have weathered the worst of the global recession and future improvements will follow.

In the rating system used by the Bank of Scotland labour market barometer, a score over 50 represents an improvement in the employment market.  The figure is compiled from levels of demand for staff, employment levels, and pay, in both the permanent and temporary job markets.  September’s figure was 52.3, marginally down on the previous month when the figure was 52.4.  Both figures signal a slight improvement in Scotland’s job market.  

According to data from KMPG and the Recruitment and Employment Federation, the Scottish labour market has expanded every month over the past year, while the UK market contracted in five of the past 12 months.  Scotland’s job market has been growing since October 2010, the last month in which it contracted.  

The sectors of the economy which reported the strongest growth in permanent vacancies were catering and hospitality, and IT and computing.   There was also a rise in vacancies for temporary posts in IT in September.

A separate report published today by the Ernst & Young Item Club says rising employment is driving a resurgence in consumer demand that will boost the housing market next year.  The Item Club’s autumn forecast says that “deeply disappointing” UK trade figures have stifled growth over the last six months, but falling inflation and rising employment have seen consumer demand bounce back stronger than expected.  The report says that that trends now becoming apparent will strengthen in 2013, and will in turn lead to improvements in the housing market.

Donald MacRae chief economist at the Bank of Scotland said:

“Scotland’s job market continued to improve in September with a welcome increase in people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs alongside a rising number of vacancies.

“The Scottish economy is maintaining employment in the face of the global slowdown.  A significant fall in unemployment awaits a lift in both consumer and business confidence.”

Welcoming the news, Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Last month, Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined a budget for economic growth – including further investment in construction and skills with £40 million to be invested in affordable housing, increasing the number of new schools we will build and helping small and medium sized businesses create up to 10,000 opportunities through a national employer recruitment initiative.

“These measures build on the £485 million additional investment we have announced since last year’s Spending Review to stimulate Scotland’s economy and protect families, businesses, front line services and jobs all over the country, in the face of Westminster cuts. This month’s Barometer report shows an improvement in Scottish labour market conditions for the 23rd consecutive month in September.

“There is no doubt that with the full fiscal powers of independence, the Scottish Government could do even more to strengthen our economy. But in the meantime, we call on the UK Government to listen to the warnings from leading organisations like the IMF to invest in recovery and to help, rather than hinder, the process of economic recovery.”