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Modest fall in permanent staff appointments

Recruitment agencies in the UK signalled a further decline in the number of people placed into permanent job roles in May. Permanent placements have now fallen in four of the past five months. The pace of decline was moderate overall, despite quickening since April, and remained softer than March’s recent record. The latest reduction was generally linked to Brexit-related uncertainty, which had reportedly led some firms to postpone hiring decisions, while some panellists also indicated that overall demand for staff had softened from early-2019.

Three of the four monitored English regions registered lower permanent staff appointments, with the Midlands seeing the quickest rate of decline. The North bucked the overall trend and saw a marked increase in permanent placements.

Temp billings growth weakens to 73-month low

May survey data pointed to a weaker increase
in billings received from the employment of temporary/contract workers. Notably, the latest expansion was marginal and the slowest seen since the current sequence of growth began in May 2013. According to anecdotal evidence, the upturn was largely driven by relatively firm demand for temp staff. However, there were also reports that subdued vacancy growth and reduced activity at clients had restricted the upturn.

Temp billings expanded in the South of England and in London during May. However, a further decline was seen in the Midlands while the North of England registered the first reduction since January.

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