New-Job Index Declines, Led by Decrease in Public-Sector Demand, Reed Says

A U.K. gauge of new jobs dropped this month as demand for workers in the public sector plunged, recruitment company Reed said.

The Reed Job index fell to 104 from 111 in November, the London-based company said in a report today. The index for public jobs dropped to 42, the lowest since the index began in December 2009. A gauge of salaries increased, boosted by the consultancy, retail and banking industries.

Britain’s government is counting on the private sector to boost payrolls as it cuts public jobs to reduce the record budget deficit. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that about 330,000 government jobs will be axed by 2015 as part of the fiscal squeeze.

“There are grounds for cautious optimism about new job prospects in 2011,” Managing Director Martin Warnes said in the report. “Rising private-sector demand has been enough to create year-on-year growth in spite of steep falls in new public-sector jobs.”

The index of salaries for new jobs rose to 99 in December from 96 in November, with the measure for retailing jumping to 124 from 109. In banking, the salary gauge rose to 108 from 95.

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