The demand for new staff fell last month, prompting fears of another jump in unemployment.
Reed.co.uk, the UK’s biggest recruitment website, reported a fall in its job index from 105 to 102 in March, echoing economists’ warnings that unemployment, currently stable at 2.45 million, could peak at 2.8 million this year.
Martin Warnes, Reed’s managing director, said: “Across the board, employers have become more cautious about committing to new recruitment.”
While the demand for marketing and PR staff bucked the trend, Reed noticed a fall in the demand for engineers, scientists and factory workers, the Times has reported.
Demand for public sector workers was weakest, while Warnes suggested the business service sector would lead the economy out of recession, as demand for accountants and consultants had grown, “in spite of pre-election jitters in the City”.