Economic recovery gets fresh confidence boost

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Scotland’s jobs market is at its highest in nearly six years, with new research showing an increase in both permanent appointments and vacancies.

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs – published today – shows its labour barometer is at its highest level since September 2007 and also reveals the sharpest rise in permanent staff appointments in the survey’s ten-and-a-half-year history.

The number of permanent job vacancies “grew strongly” last month, with recruitment agencies also reporting an increase in demand for temporary workers. Permanent salaries rose for the fifth month in a row.

Donald MacRae, Bank of Scotland’s chief economist, said the results of the survey “suggest rising business confidence is translating into a continuation of the recovery in the Scottish economy this summer”.

The report’s labour market barometer – which aims to provide a snapshot of conditions across the jobs market – reached 60.3 in July, its highest level since September 2007. That was up from June’s 58.5 and well ahead of the 50 no-change mark.

As well as the increase in permanent salaries, the study revealed hourly pay rates for temporary staff had increased at the joint sharpest pace since the research began in January 2003.

Across Scotland, Aberdeen-based recruiters enjoyed the largest increases in both permanent and temporary placements.

The research was released as another survey provided more good news for the Scottish economy. The latest business trends report from accountancy firm BDO showed levels of optimism had risen for the sixth month in a row, feeding into businesses’ employment intentions.

Martin Gill, head of BDO in Scotland, said: “It’s encouraging to see short-term business prospects improving.”