Jobs market defies summer slump in August

Demand for new jobs defied the usual summer-season slump and stayed steady in August, driven by the leisure and tourism and retail sectors, research has revealed.

The monthly Job Index, compiled by recruitment firm Reed, tracks the number of new job opportunities and the salaries on offer compared to the previous month and against a baseline of 100 set in December 2009.

The Index was unchanged at 102 in August, despite the continuing slump in public sector jobs, as leisure and tourism (at 133) and retail (at 116) saw their highest levels of demand for jobs since last December.

Across the country the picture was mixed. New jobs in London continued to dip to give an Index reading of 96. However, in other areas new job demand stayed steady, while in Northern Ireland and Scotland it has risen to the highest levels since the Index began.

Salaries for new jobs also stayed steady overall to give a Reed Salary Index reading of 95 for the fourth month running. The underlying level of salaries trended slightly down compared to the previous month, to give an average national salary of £31,728 for new jobs in August, compared to £31,919 in July.

Martin Warnes, managing director of reed.co.uk, said: “Traditionally, the UK job market is quiet in August. Against this background the fact that the Reed Job Index has held steady over the holiday season, even though public sector jobs continue to decline, is quietly encouraging news for the economy as a whole.

“While the seasonal tourist boom and an unexpected rise in consumer confidence may have helped fuel record demand for new staff in leisure, tourism and retail, demand has also risen across broader commercial and financial sectors. Indeed, demand for new staff in accountancy and customer services, through to strategy and consultancy, also rose to their highest levels since the Job Index began last year. It seems that overall confidence, particularly in the business-services sector, has been slowly but steadily building over the summer break.”

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