Jobs market 'on road to recovery'
A new study suggests the jobs market is "on the road to recovery", with a strong rise in demand for staff.
The survey of recruitment consultants and employers in December found permanent staff vacancies rising at their fastest level in four months.
But one of the reports sponsors, KPMG, warns the future of the recovery is uncertain, as the government's austerity measures take effect.
Official data showed 2.5 million people were unemployed last month.
The KPMG-led report, which was also sponsored by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said demand for temporary staff in December saw its biggest rise in six months.
It found that computing, professional, engineering and accounting reported the strongest increases.
Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG, said the private sector had been mainly responsible for the overall improvement, but the labour market was now entering "a critical phase with two big question marks".
He added: "First the impact of the government cutbacks in public sector spend and employment, which should start to bite over the coming months.
"Second the impact of the recent VAT increase, and whether this will affect UK consumer demand and job creation."
The report claims to provide the most up to date picture of the labour market.
It highlights the skills reported to be in short supply by employers last month.
Sales, project management, and engineering were the top three mentioned by recruiters looking for permanent staff.
For temporary staff, the most in demand skills included delivery drivers, chefs and social workers.
The study is released a week before the next official unemployment figures, which will be closely watched because of fears that the jobless numbers are set to rise again because of the cuts in public spending.
Some commentators have warned the unemployment total could eventually climb by 200,000 before peaking at 2.7 million.