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Moderate improvements for UK unemployment and hiring demand

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April data for the ICAP UK Labour Market indices (UK LMI) shows moderate improvements in the UK labour market. 

After four consecutive monthly increases, applications per vacancy fell 1.3 per cent in April. Hiring levels also improved in April, with the ICAP Vacancy Index returning to growth by rising 5.3pts, however the Unemployment Index remains 22 per cent higher than a year ago. 
On a month-on-month basis, both permanent and temporary vacancies grew in April (+2.0 per cent and +2.8 per cent), continuing the increases from March.
On a year-on-year basis, both permanent and temporary vacancies also grew +9.4 per cent and +17.7 per cent.
A 1.3 per cent decrease in applications per vacancy in April suggests further easing in claimant count is likely.
Average offered salaries fell for a second consecutive month on a three month rolling basis (-0.8 per cent), although remains marginally above the same period last year.
Transport and rail, medical and nursing, and pharmaceuticals were the top three sectors with the strongest quarter-on-quarter growth.  All exceeded 20 per cent month-on-month increases and had even larger year-on-year gains (+24 per cent, +89 per cent and +25 per cent respectively).
Defence and military, electronics, purchasing and procurement and retail were the only four sectors to experience declines in permanent vacancy demand over the quarter.  All but retail, however, remain above 2012 levels.
Graduates and trainees once again experienced the strongest quarterly growth in temporary vacancies (+105 per cent) after very strong growth in both March and April.  Demand in the sector remains at almost double the level of the same period in 2012.
Despite strong monthly growth (+24 per cent), retail once again saw the largest fall in temporary vacancies versus the previous three month period.  This is mainly due, however, to the previously strong Christmas hiring period rather than weaker current demand.

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