PERMANENT job placements in Scotland rose for the fifth successive month in January, although the pace of growth slowed slightly.

The latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs found the growth in temporary placements was at its strongest in almost two years, while demand for all staff also rose. Average pay levels grew at the fastest rate since May last year.

Scottish recruitment agencies questioned for the research cited "improved economic conditions" and greater client demand for the upswing.

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The Bank's Labour Market Barometer – which provides a single-figure snapshot of labour market conditions – was at 53.9, which was ahead of the UK reading of 53.4. However, the barometer was down from the 19-month high of 56 recorded in Scotland during December.

Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Demand for permanent staff was highest in engineering and construction, suggesting a modest pick-up in activity in this crucial sector in the coming spring.

"These results reinforce the hope that the Scottish economy enjoyed moderate growth in January 2013."