THERE are tentative signs of recovery in the Scottish jobs market with recruitment agencies reporting increases in placement of both permanent and temporary staff last month.

The Bank of Scotland's labour market barometer, which measures a number of indicators to give an overall view of employment conditions, rose to its highest level in seven months.

While permanent placements rose at the strongest rate since April, the improvement in temporary billings was the weakest since July.

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Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Conditions in the Scottish labour market improved in November. Both the number of people appointed to jobs and the number of job vacancies rose in the month.

"Despite the economic slowdown, employers continue to hire, suggesting a rising trend in business confidence."

At 54.9 up from 53.6 in October, the Bank of Scotland barometer was slightly higher than the equivalent index for the UK which stood at 53.6.

Anything above 50 indicates an improvement in labour market conditions.

The Scottish jobs market appears to have been getting better since July when it virtually stalled, the bank says.

In November permanent placements rose at the strongest rate since April with one in three of the 105 recruitment agencies surveyed by Bank of Scotland reporting an increase from October. Some 18.5% reported their placements had fallen.

This pattern was very similar to that of the UK as a whole.

Growth in temporary billings eased for the second month in a row to the weakest rate since July and lagged the UK average.

Pay for both permanent and temporary jobs improved. Wage inflation in Scotland was reported as higher than for the UK as a whole.

Within Scotland, Edinburgh-based recruitment firms again reported the strongest increase in permanent placements.

But it was recruiters in Dundee who saw the greatest rise in temporary staff billings.

The fastest increases in pay for permanent staff was recorded in Aberdeen, but temporary workers in Glasgow saw the biggest pay rise, the survey found.

The information technology and computing sector had the most vacancies for permanent staff. The rate of increase was the fastest since May.

Behind nursing, medical and care, IT and computing was also the industry with the greatest demand for temporary or contract staff.

The only area to see a fall in permanent staff jobs was the blue-collar sector.