Fall in Scottish permanent job placements
The number of new permanent jobs in Scotland has fallen for the first time in six months, according to a leading study.
The Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs found the amount of temporary work has continued to rise but at a slower rate.
According to the study, Scotland's jobs market did improve slightly but not as strongly as previous months.
The research said the UK as a whole fared better than Scotland - with more permanent jobs in February.
Average starting salaries stalled in Scotland and hourly pay rates for temporary staff fell, the report said.
The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer gives the job market a single figure to indicate its strength each month.Market conditions
In the report, any figure above 50 is indicative of an improvement in conditions compared to the month before.
It indicated a modest improvement in Scottish job market conditions in February, with a figure of 51.2, down from 53.9 in January and 56 in December.
It was below the UK average (53.1) for the first time in almost two years.
Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae said the results highlighted the fragile recovery from the recession.
"The February barometer showed Scottish job market conditions continuing to improve but at a marginal rate," he said.
"The number of people appointed to permanent jobs fell for the first time in six months, while the growth in vacancies for permanent jobs was the slowest for over a year.
"The rate of growth in vacancies for temporary jobs remained strong although slowing to a three-month low."Lower salaries
A regional analysis showed that recruiters based in Aberdeen and Edinburgh reported a decline in permanent placements in February.
Meanwhile, Glasgow was the only region to experience a reduction in temp staff billings.
Glasgow-based recruitment consultancies recorded lower starting salaries for permanent staff in February.
Wages and salaries data for February pointed to no change in permanent salaries since January, ending a four-month sequence of increases.
Only three sectors posted a larger number of permanent job vacancies in February, led by IT and computing.
Strong rates of decline were recorded for hotel and catering and secretarial and clerical.
The strongest increase in demand for temp staff was posted for nursing/medical/care.