Private sector job vacancies rose steeply in January, but salaries were flat, according to a survey from the UK's largest recruitment website.
The Reed Job Index rose 9 points to 113, the highest since the index was started in December 2009, when the baseline was set at 100.
Private sector growth is behind the rise, as new public sector jobs were less than half the level of a year ago.
The index is drawn from Reed's list of daily vacancies from 8,000 recruiters.
Reed said job creation rose across all areas of the UK, but that salaries were flat and were 1% below levels a year ago, further lagging behind inflation.
Sectors seeing particularly strong rises, though, were engineering and manufacturing, two areas benefiting from a rise in exports.
The scientific sector also gained sharply, as did financial services.
Two UK regions that had struggled with job creation, North East England and the West Midlands, have 20% more private sector job vacancies than when the index started in December 2009.
Real-term salary rises appear in just 10 out of the 35 job sectors Reed analyses. The salary index edged above 100 in retail, training, banking, hospitality, marketing and accountancy.
Martin Warnes, managing director of reed.co.uk, said the January data shows that confidence among private sector employers is growing.
"While there may be economic challenges ahead, this is encouraging news for the UK economy," he said.